Dry Eye Syndrome – Most Common Eye Disease

There are many eye diseases in the world but the most common eye disease is Dry Eye Syndrome.

Dry Eye Syndrome Definition

Dry Eye Syndrome is a common disease of the tear film; it affects most of the population older than 40 years of age. The 25-30 million of people are affected due to this disease in United States.

This disease is more common in Women than in men.

A thin layer of tears help to keep Eye and vision comfortable. This layer of tears is made up of 3 layers:

The inner most layer is the thinnest and it is a layer of Mucus. Mucus helps keep a watery layer over the Eye.

The middle layer is thick. This layer is a Salt-Water solution. This layer keeps the Eye moist, comfortable; it also drains out the Dust in the Eye.

The upper layer is a thin layer of Lipids. Lipids consist of fats and oil. The function of this layer is to decrease the evaporation of Watery layer.

Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome can be caused due to following factors

Eye dries because of tear evaporation or by the poor tear production.

  1. Decreased Tear Production

    Poor production of tears can be due to Age, Hormonal Changes, and Autoimmune diseases like Siogren Syndrome or Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  2. Excessive Tear Evaporation

    Evaporative loss of tears is due to the result of an insufficient Lipid Layer.

    Medicines like Antihistamines, Antidepressants, Beta-blockers and Oral Contraceptive Pills decreases the production of tears in an Eye.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

These are the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Dry Eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Burning of the Eyes
  • Itching of the Eyes
  • Redness of Eyes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Light Sensitivity

The symptoms of Dry Eyes Syndrome get worse in dry season, higher temperatures, lower humidity and excessive use of Eyes.

When to See Doctor

If anyone is continuously experiencing these symptoms, he/she should consult an Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist).

Check Up and Tests

The Ophthalmologist diagnoses this disease by hearing the complaints of the patients.

Following tests may also be performed for the Eye examination

  • A special microscope known as Slit Lamp is used to examine the Eye.
  • The amount and thickness of tear film is checked
  • The Conjunctiva is examined to check the dryness of an Eye.
  • The Cornea is examined to see, if it is damaged.
  • Different dyes can be used for Eye examination.
  • Schirmer Test is also performed to check the amount of tears in the Eyes.  The Ophthalmologist puts a thin strip at the lower end of Eyelid and this strip is removed after a minute and the amount of wetting on the strip is then measured. Less wetting of the strip shows the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome.
  • The Osmolarity (Salt Element) is also measured to check this disease.
  • If autoimmune diseases are believed to cause Dry Eye Syndrome then a Blood test is taken to check the presence of Autoantibodies.
  • Sometimes a Biopsy of Salivary Glands is performed to check its functioning because it produces the Saliva in Mouth and also produces Tears in Eyes.

Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome

Many treatments of dry eye syndrome are available. Humidifier and eye drops are used to keep the eyes moist and to produce tears. These are also known as artificial tears.

Dry Eye Syndrome Medications

Following medicines can be used to treat the Dry Eye syndrome:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Corticosteroid
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drops such as Voltaren, Acular, Nevanac, Xibrom can prevent the inflammation during Dry Eye Syndrome.
  • Antibiotics are suggested by the Ophthalmologist to treat the functioning of Eye Glands.
  • Eye Ointments like Erythromycin and Bacitracin are used to decrease the number of Bacteria present in Eyes. These Ointments also help to lubricate the Eyes.
  • Oral antibiotics like Tetracycline and Doxycycline are given to produce Oil fluids that flow out of Oil Glands easily and keep the Eyes moist.

Dry Eye Syndrome Surgery

Few surgeries are also done to treat the Dry Eye Syndrome. These are not complicated surgeries. These surgeries take few minutes and the wound heals very quickly within few days.

Dry Eye Syndrome Self-Care at Home

Humidifiers should be kept at home which do not let Water Vapors to evaporate from the atmosphere.

Avoid excessive air movements; it makes our Eyes dry, try to avoid Ceiling Fans or Pedestal Fans.

Try to avoid dust because can also irritate the Eyes and it makes the disease worst. Use air filters for clean the dust particles.

If you feel your Eyes get dry then close your eyes for few minutes, take rest and then concentrate on your work, it will be beneficial for your Eyes as it will keep your Eyes moist and it will prevent Eye dryness.

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