Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye occurs when the quality and/or quantity of one’s tears is not adequate to keep the surface of the eyes moisturised.
Our eyes are continually covered by basal tears when we blink. Basal tears protect the eyes from dust, bacteria, viruses, fumes and other particles
Dry Eye affects people of all ages. However, it is more common in women and in older people (above 50 years). Symptoms vary widely. They could be mild or severe.
What are the causes of Dry Eyes
The main causes are: Your tear system is not producing enough tears or the tears produced are not keeping the eyes moisturised.
Dry eye can occur when basal tear production decreases, or tear composition is imbalanced.
Below are specific causes of dry eyes
• Environmental factors – dry weather, dusty air and fumes increases tear evaporation, thereby causing dry eyes.
• Working condition – staring at a computer screen or watching TV for long hours.
• Advancing age is a risk factor for reduced tear production.
• Hormonal changes – the hormonal changes that women experience when pregnant and when they attain menopause also cause dry eyes
• Medications for some diseases have been linked to dry eye syndrome. Some of these are: Diuretics for treating high blood pressure, antihistamines and decongestants used for managing allergies, antidepressants, medications for Parkinson’s disease, sedatives and oral contraceptives ,Isotretinoin-Type drugs used for acne treatment.
• Autoimmune disorders - , lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Vitamin A deficiency are associated with dry eye.
• Foreign bodies in the eyes
• Laser eye surgery may cause temporary dry eye symptoms.
What are some of the symptoms of dry eye?
• Pain in the eyes
• Stinging or Burning sensation in the eye
• Foreign body sensation - scratchy sensation or the feeling that something is in your eyes
• Redness in the eyes,
• Episodes of excess tearing
• Itchy eyes, Eye twitching, eye fatigue
What’s the treatment of dry eye?
Visit your optometrist who will examine you, determine the cause and advise on the appropriate treatment. However, the following steps can help reduce the symptoms.
• Make a conscious effort to blink at intervals when using a computer, smartphone or other digital devices can help reduce symptoms.
• Take frequent breaks during a computer use.
• Keep your eyelids clean and always remove eye makeup thoroughly.
• Wear quality sunglasses outdoors particularly those with wraparound frames.
• Increase the humidity in the air at work and at home and minimise exposure to heaters and air conditioners.