Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in adults, children and animals that is the result of a decreased production of tears or quick evaporation of the tear film. The condition can affect one or both eyes, and it can lead to irritation, inflammation and infection.
While dry eye syndrome can occur at any age and in otherwise healthy people, it is especially common for the following individuals:
- People who work on the computer for long hours
- People who use contact lenses
- People who work in dry and hot workplaces
- People with nutrient deficiencies
- Older people
Treatment for Dry Eyes
Treatment for dry eye syndrome largely depends on the cause of your condition. So, it is best to consult with your doctor first to identify the reason. The goal of treatment is to keep your eyes lubricated and treat the underlying cause.
Treatment options include
- Eye drops:
- Artificial tear eye drops
- Doctors may prescribe cyclosporine eye drops to reduce inflammation and increase the production of tears. However, you should not use these drops if you have an eye infection or a history of herpes viral infection of the eye.
- Doctors may prescribe antibiotic drops or ointments for infections in the eyes or eyelids.
- Sometimes, they may prescribe an oral antibiotic such as tetracycline or doxycycline.
- Steroid eye drops can reduce inflammation if symptoms remain severe, even after the frequent use of eye drops.
Oral medication: Doctors may prescribe antibiotics, antiviral medications or oral steroids if dryness is secondary to an eye infection.
Surgery: Certain conditions may result in complications of the eyelid, such as incomplete closure of the eye due to facial nerve paralysis and tear glands or tear duct disorders that cause dry eyes. These conditions can be treated with surgery.
Home remedies: Various home remedies can help relieve dry eyes. However, you should continue to take the medication prescribed by your doctor along with these remedies.
Taping the eyelids closed if there is difficulty closing the eyes completely (facial nerve palsy)
Wearing wraparound glasses to protect the eyes from wind and hot air
Consciously blinking more frequently while watching TV or using a computer
Avoiding smoking, exposure to smoke and other pollutants, and keeping air conditioning at a moderate temperature
Using humidifiers at home to help moisten the air
Wearing moisture-chamber spectacles as goggles
Using over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops that can lubricate mildly dry eyes
Cleaning the eyelids using cotton or a soft cloth dipped in clean warm water (distilled water) can help get rid of debris and discharge
Using warm water compresses over the eyelids
Gently massaging the eyelid in a circular motion using a clean finger to help drain discharge from the tear glands
- Dietary tips: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of dry eyes. Rich sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include oily fish, canola oil, walnuts, flax oil, ground flaxseed, hemp oil, hemp seed, olive oil and soybeans. Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily may also help.
What are the complications of dry eyes?
Dry eye syndrome may lead to several complications if it persists. Though people with milder dry eyes may not experience long-term effects, severe symptoms can lead to inflammation, infection and ulceration of the corneal surface of the eyes. Such ulceration can be painful and result in scarring that affects the person’s vision.
What are the signs and symptoms of dry eyes?
A person with dry eye syndrome may experience a range of symptoms, including:
- A feeling of dryness of the eyes
- A feeling of grittiness or foreign body sensation
- Soreness of the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Stinging or burning sensation of the eyes
- Discharge or mucus in and around the eyes (especially stringy mucous)
- Sensitivity to smoke or wind
- Sensitivity to light and digital screens
- Eye fatigue
- Difficulty keeping eyelids open
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Watering of the eyes
- Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
- Eyelids sticking together when waking up
- Crusting in the eyelids
- Swelling of the eyelids
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