Dry Eyes Syndrome: All you need to know
Dry eyes syndrome is a widespread and often persistent condition, especially among the elderly. Usually, people do not pay much attention to the signs during the early stage of the syndrome. Even though it’s unpleasant but dry eye syndrome not always causes permanent vision loss.
This condition mostly occurs when tears can’t provide adequate moisture. Tears spread across the cornea and the front surface of the eye with each blink of the eyelids, lubricates the eye, lowers the chances of infection, washes away foreign matter, and maintains the eye’s surface to be smooth and clear. Surplus tears drain into little drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids and when tear production and drainage are out of balance, dry eyes might develop. Tears have antibacterial properties, and in dry eyes, where there is little lubrication, the eyes are more susceptible to inflammation and infections, which might result in vision loss.
At the wake of the pandemic, the problem of dry eyes is not restricted to the elderly but has been catching up with the younger generation as well due to excess screen time. However, apart from lifestyle issues which include excess screen time and unclean contact lenses, the weather viz. the increasing pollution has been an important factor in contributing to the rise in dry eyes among the public. In North India, the stubble burning pre-Diwali followed by the thick smog affects the eyesight of the public across various age groups. As per studies by the NCBI, India ranks higher than its global counterparts when it comes to the prevalence of dry eyes disease.
1. Apart from these are other factors that contribute to this syndrome like Natural ageing process, underlying medical conditions like diabetes or thyroid, menopause or pregnancy can also lead to dry eyes, certain medications including antihistamines, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, birth control and Parkinson’s disease, temporary issue of dry eyes post laser eye surgery or Vitamin – A deficiency.
Dry eye is an insidious and often overlooked/undertreated disease affecting up to a third of adults worldwide. The prevalence of DED in India is higher than the global prevalence and ranges from 18.4% to 54.3%.
2. The diagnosis of dry eyes includes comprehensive eye examinations like the Schirmer Test (used to measure tear production), Phenol Red Thread Test (used to measure tear volume) as well as a test to study the quality of a patient’s tears. Apart from the eye exams, focus on the overall health of a patient is also taken into consideration.
3. One should not overlook and delay in diagnosis or initiate treatment, if they face any of these symptoms.
- A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in the eye creating discomfort
- Mucus around the eyes
- Redness of eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
- Watery eyes (response of body to the irritation of dry eyes)
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
The treatment of dry eyes can start once the cause is identified. In cases where dry eyes go undiagnosed or untreated and become acute/chronic in nature, it is difficult for a full recovery to take place. As the treatment for dry eyes can continue for a lifetime. Hence, it is better to go for regular eye check-ups and use ophthalmologist prescribed eye-drops to prevent the onset of dry eyes.
There is a certain amount of lifestyle changes that need to be made to prevent dry eyes. To begin with, one should avoid excess use of the screen. While sitting in front of the screen for a long time, it is encouraged to take regular breaks for the eyes to avoid any strain.
People using contact lenses need to take extra precaution by maintaining a certain standard of hygiene when it comes to cleaning the lenses regularly. Failure to do so may lead to other eye related diseases. The same goes for spectacles where one should regularly clean the glasses with an anti-microbial solution provided by an optician. When it comes to general health, supplements for vitamin A as well as foods rich in Omega 3 should be included in the diet. This will prevent the onset of dry eyes from the various environmental factors (pollutants, allergies, etc).
With expert’s advice people can also use an eye drop as artificial tears which helps to maintain lubrication in the eye. These drops can help to protect and take care of the eye health for those who spend excess time in the front of the screen or for them who’s eyes may get affected due to some unavoidable environmental factors.
If you are experiencing any issues with your eyesight, visit M.M. Chokshi Eye Hospital for a quick check-up. Look at the world with more clarity. Book an appointment today.
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