Dry Eye Syndrome Symptoms & Treatment

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Having dry eye syndrome is a frequent problem for many people, especially for the older generation. As a person blinks, their eyes spread tears across each cornea. The tears you produce supply the necessary lubrication, maintain a clear and smooth eye surface, keep the eyes clean, and lower the chance of infections. The cause of dry eye syndrome is when the drainage and production of tears are not balanced. 

The Cause of Dry Eye Syndrome and Risks Involved

The cause of dry eye syndrome is from the inability to properly produce and drain tears. Individuals are not able to make the necessary amount of tears or the tears quality is not very good. 

For individuals with insufficient tear production, the cause is normally due to age, medication side effects, or a medical condition. Various other reasons can also cause dry eyes such as climate or wind, which can cause the evaporation of the tears. As a decrease in tears occurs, dry eye syndrome will surely follow. 

Decrease in tear quality can also occur due to the decreased amount of one of three layers that tears are made up of. These layers are mucus, oil, and water. If any of these layers get disrupted due to evaporation or uneven application, then dry eye syndrome may occur.

Other reasons that could cause dry eye syndrome involve the following:

The Persons Age

Aging will naturally cause the eyes to dry out as the person gets older. The majority of individuals 60 years or older have an encounter with dry eyes. 

Individuals Gender

Because of hormonal imbalances, women usually develop dry eyes more often than men. These imbalances are often caused by pregnancy, menopause, and contraception.

Medication Use

If you take a certain medication such as antidepressants, decongestants, antihistamines, or medication for blood pressure, then you may experience dry eye.

More Considerations

Using contact lenses for long periods of time can easily cause eyes to dry out. Also, LASIK eye surgery can also contribute by reducing the production of tears.

Dry Eye Symptoms

There are many symptoms associated with dry eyes including burning sensations, scratchy feelings, irritation, eyes watering excessively, or even blurriness.

Diagnosing Dry Eyes

Diagnosing dry eyes can be conducted by having the eyes thoroughly examined. Tests will have an emphasis on the tears quality and amount produced and may also involve: 

Knowing the detailed patient history in order to have the symptoms determined and with considering problems with health and medications. 

Examination of the external eye structures such as blinking, and eyelids.

Incorporating magnification and bright light to evaluate the cornea and eyelids.

Measuring for any Abnormalities linked to the tears’ poor quantity and quality. This measuring can be conducted using dyes that can distinguish the flow of tears and make the differences stand out, which the decreased tears may cause.

As the optometrist obtains the information through testing, they will be able to decide if you should be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome and suggest options for treatment.

Treatment Options

Treating a case of dry eye focuses on correcting the imbalance of the tears in order to help eliminate dryness and other conditions in order to keep the tears at a healthy amount. Having dry eye syndrome can lead to chronic issues down the line. However, by getting seen by an optometrist early they will not only be able to provide you information about dry eye syndrome but also set a course of treatment that will help rectify the issue before any worse vision problems occur. Essentially, the course of action used most is through artificial tears and other solutions that may help you to benefit such as having treatment for any inflammation within the surface of the eye and eyelids.

Artificial Tears

If your case of dry eye syndrome is mild, then you can easily use artificial tears to help alleviate the condition. There is no limit to how much you can use as it is used as a supplement for producing tears naturally. Make sure that the solution does not contain preservatives due to their decreased amount of chemicals that could cause further eye damage. If the artificial tears are noneffective on the dry eyes, the other steps may need to be taken.

Keeping the Artificial Tears in Place 

By maintaining the tears within the eyes you will be able to alleviate dry eye symptoms. To keep the solution in the eye longer you just need to plug each tear duct so that drainage does not occur. You can use any type of plug which can be removed at any time and are normally made of silicon or gel. Surgery can also be conducted in order to have the ducts closed for good. No matter the route you take, the point is to have the artificial tears in place in order for the dry eye problems to be resolved.

Improving the Production of Tears

An optometrist is able to order eye drops that can improve the production of tears.

You can also try a daily omega-3 supplement to help alleviate the dryness. 

The optometrist may also decide to treat the inflammation surrounding the surface and area and eyelid. The optometrist can also suggest other drops and ointments as well as lid massage, a warm compress, and cleaners specifically for the eyelid and any surrounding inflammation.

Preventing Dry Eye Syndrome

There are several steps you can take to alleviate dry eyes such as blinking repeatedly as you read as well as taking breaks from your computer screen in order to give your eyes a break.

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