Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common conditions faced by many people across the world. The condition occurs when our eyes are unable to generate enough tears, due to which the eyes are not properly lubricated. Inadequate generation of tears can occur due to many reasons, and dry eyes can also occur when the tears are of poor quality too.
Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, and most people suffer from burning or a stinging sensation. The condition of dry eyes can also be experienced during situations like riding a cycle or a bike, watching TV or computer screen for a long time, staying in a cold room for long, etc.
There are treatments for dry eyes that make your eyes feel comfortable and cool. In most cases, treatments include changes to your lifestyle and the use of eye drops. If the irritation persists it is always advised to see an eye specialist.
But, what causes dry eye syndrome?
Before we delve into the causes of dry eyes, let us first understand the symptoms.
Dry eyes can affect one for both the eyes. Some of the symptoms you need to look out for are,
- Burning or a stinging feeling in the eyes
- Forming of mucus in or around the eyes
- High sensitivity to light
- Redness in the eyes
- A sensation of a foreign object in the eyes
- Finding it difficult to wear contact lenses
- Unable to drive in the night
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes
When should you see a doctor?
If you have prolonged symptoms like painful or red eyes that do no vanish after a good rest, it is suggested you see a doctor. A treatment plan is suggested after a thorough eye examination. A doctor can also suggest a few remedies for dry eye syndrome that can be followed at home.
Causes of dry eye syndrome
As mentioned earlier, dry eye syndrome is caused when there are inadequate or poor quality tears. The tears produced are a mix of mucus, water, and fatty oils, all of which keep our eyes lubricated. Tears also smoothen and clean the surface of our eyes, providing clear vision and protecting them from infections.
In some people, dry eye syndrome is caused due to reduction in the tear production, and for others, it is caused due to imbalance or increase in tear evaporation.
Low tear production
Dry eyes occur when our eyes are not able to produce adequate tears. Also, known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, it can be caused due to various reasons like
- Increase in age
- Medications that are used regularly to treat lupus, diabetes, thyroid, etc
- Medications that are used to treat depression, blood pressure, hormone imbalance, acne or birth control pills
- Temporary symptoms can be seen in people who underwent laser eye surgery
- Damage of the tear gland which occurs due to radiation and inflammation
Increase in the evaporation of tears
Some of the causes of tear evaporation are,
- Dry air
- Smoke or wind
- It occurs when a person blinks less, and this mostly occurs during reading or working on a laptop or during driving
- Problem with the eyelids like out-turning and in-turning
Tear composition imbalance
The tear film present in our eyes has three layers, each of which is made of water, oil, and mucus. A person can suffer from dry eye syndrome when there is a problem with these layers. For example, the oil in the tear film is produced by the small glands located on the eyelids, and it can get clogged, and it can cause dry eyes as well.
The above mentioned are the causes of dry eyes. Let us now have a look at the factors that can increase your risk of having dry eyes.
- The risk of dry eyes is more in people who are 50 years and older. The production of tears tends to reduce as you age and hence the condition is quite common.
- Dry eye syndrome is common in women as they experience a lot of hormonal changes due to puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
- People who follow a diet that is low in Vitamin are prone to dry eyes.
- People who wear contact lenses every day can experience dry eyes.
- Working men and women who are exposed to screens every day are at high risk.
People who are suffering from dry eye syndrome can experience a few complications, and some of them are mentioned below.
Infections – The tears produced by our eyes protect the surface from unwanted infections. When adequate tears are not produced, there is a high risk of infections.
Damage – Dry eye syndrome, when left untreated can cause inflammation and blurred vision. It can also lead to corneal ulcers in some cases.
Dry eye syndrome can also affect the quality of life of the person as one might find it hard to perform routine activities like driving, reading, etc.
How to prevent dry eyes?
If you are witnessing any symptoms of dry eyes, you need to understand the causes of the same. You can start by paying attention to the situations causing the same and avoid them. A few examples are listed below.
- Never blow air directly into the eyes. This normally happens when you use hair dryers, air conditioners, or heaters in the home.
- Dry air can cause dry eyes. You can use a humidifier during the winter season to prevent the same.
- Make sure to wear sunglass or anti-glare glasses when stepping out and when working on a computer.
- If you are an avid reader or work for long hours on a computer, make sure to take breaks in between as it reduces the stress on the eyes. Just close the eyes for a few seconds as this helps the tears to spread in the eyes evenly.
- If you suffer from dry eyes more often, make sure to use artificial tears as it keeps them lubricated.
- Smoke can cause dry eyes. Habits like smoking can also worsen dry eye symptoms.
Are you suffering from dry eyes? Visit Eye specialist in Delhi for an effective dry eye treatment!