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Dry Eye Syndrome

Do your eyes normally feel gritty and dry like sand paper? This could be a result of Dry Eye Syndrome. To confirm this, visit an Ophthalmologist for complete diagnosis.

Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Dry eye is a chronic and common problem.

There are three types of tears:-

Basal Tears are the constant tears in our eyes that keep them from drying out. The body produces 5 to 10 ounces of basal tears each day. These tears drain through the nasal cavity, which explains why so many people develop runny noses after they have a good cry.

Reflex tears are another type of tears. They protect the human eye from harsh irritants such as onions, smoke and dust. When an irritant threatens your eyes, the sensory nerves in your cornea let the brain stem know about the threat and it sends hormones to the glands in the eyelids. The hormones then cause the eyes to produce tears, which rids them of the irritating substances.

Emotional tears are another kind of tears. These tears begin in the cerebrum, which registers sadness. The endocrine system then releases hormones to the ocular area, which causes tears to form. Emotional tears are common among people who watch sad movies or who suffer a personal loss.

Dry Eye Syndrome can be related to various causes such as:

  • As you get older, the eyes produce less tears as required.

  • Certain medical conditions, including Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Sjogren's Sndrome, Thyroid disorders and Vitamin A deficiency

  • Certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control and Parkinson's disease

  • Refractive Laser eye surgery, though symptoms of dry eyes related to this procedure are usually temporary

  • Tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation

  • Wind, smoke or dry air

  • Blinking less often, which tends to occur when you're concentrating, for example, while reading, driving or working at a computer

  • Eyelid problems, such as out-turning of the lids (ectropion) and in-turning of the lids (entropion)

Signs and symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome that persons may notice:

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes

  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Eye redness

  • A sensation of having something in your eyes

  • Difficulty wearing with contact lenses

  • Difficulty with nighttime driving

  • Watery eyes, which is the body's response to the irritation of dry eyes

  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

Tests and procedures that may be used to determine the cause of your dry eyes include:

  • A comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam that includes a complete history of your overall health and your eye health can help your doctor diagnose the cause of your dry eyes.

  • Measuring the volume of your tears. Your doctor may measure your tear production using the Schirmer test. In this test, blotting strips of paper are placed under your lower eyelids. After five minutes your doctor measures the amount of strip soaked by your tears.

  • Determining the quality of your tears. Other tests use special dyes in eye drops to determine the surface condition of your eyes. Your doctor looks for staining patterns on the corneas and measures how long it takes before your tears evaporate.

Some treatment options that can decrease the signs and symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Artificial tear drops

  • Punctal Plugs

  • Restasis eye drops

  • Oral medication

There are other options your Ophthalmologist can discuss with you which best suits your treatment plan.

For more information, please click here.

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