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Eye spy: All about dry eye

by Margery Gass | Apr 17, 2013
My eyes are dry and burning — what’s going on? Dry eye syndrome is characterized by symptoms such as dryness, pressure, a sandy feeling, burning, scratchiness, light sensitivity, blurriness, or problems wearing your contacts.

The continuous production and drainage of tears is important for eye health because tears keep the eyes moist, help wounds heal, and protect against eye infection. As women age, their eyes usually produce fewer tears. Studies in animals suggest that this is partly due to the effect of decreasing levels of hormones, especially androgens, on the lacrimal (tear) gland. When tear glands don’t work well, dry eye syndrome may occur. The eyes of affected women may produce even fewer or lower-quality tears and be unable to keep the eye surface lubricated, comfortable, and resistant to inflammation.

How can I prevent dry eye? There are lifestyle events that might contribute to symptoms of dry eye. These include exposure to climates with dry air; looking at a computer screen or reading a book for long periods without enough blinking; wearing contacts that absorb fluids; and having laser eye surgery (which may interfere with the nerve supply and reduce the impulse to blink).

Many medications may cause or worsen dry eye symptoms. These include diuretics, antihistamines, nasal decongestants, antidepressants, and tranquilizers. If you suspect a medication may be the underlying cause of your dry eye, be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider. It's possible that changing to a different medical treatment may be all that is required.

Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and thyroid disease are associated with dry eye. It's also possible that allergies or other problems that cause eye inflammation may be the culprit. A complete physical examination will help diagnose and appropriately treat any underlying diseases or conditions.
I’ve tried drops, cold compresses...nothing helps. A variety of therapeutic options are available. Some require consultation with your health provider but some you can do for yourself. Treatments include:

  • Eye lubricants such as drops or gels
  • Sterile ointments applied to the eye (typically used at night)
  • Humidifiers to increase moisture level in the air
  • Wearing wraparound glasses when outdoors
  • Avoiding windy or very dry conditions
  • Procedures that block the opening through which tears drain from the surface of the eye into the nose with collagen or silicone plugs
  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as topical cyclosporine (Restasis)
  • Topical corticosteroids

It’s important to be evaluated and treated for symptoms of dry eye syndrome. If left untreated, your eyes could become ulcerated or seriously infected, or the cornea (eye's clear surface) can be scarred.

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  1. 4 Martin 20 Apr
    How about eye exercises?
  2. 3 vipin 18 Oct

    amazing, looking at the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed
    information you provide. I'll bookmark your blog and visit it weekly for your
    new posts. 
  3. 2 NAMS 21 Oct
    Thanks Vipin!
  4. 1 aesthetic clinic 10 Jan
    I think many of the folks might have taken time to think on the dry eye concept. I like the blog post that discuss about it.

    aesthetic clinic


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