Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eyes Symptoms and Treatment!
You can learn more about causes, dry eyes symptoms and treatment options with Healthier Me Today! Dry eye syndrome is an uncomfortable condition that occurs when the tear glands aren’t producing enough tears. The condition can affect both eyes and occur at any age. As seen in this survey, over 4.88 million Americans have this condition. While dry eye syndrome is prevalent among people above 50, it can also affect young people.
The condition can be caused by allergies, aging, staring at a TV or computer screen for long, hormone replacement therapy, long-term use of contact lenses, certain medications, prolonged exposure to dry air, and LASIK eye surgery.
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Categories of Dry Eye Syndrome
Evaporative Dry Eye: This is when the lipid layer of the tears produced by the meibomian gland isn’t strong. This makes the tears evaporate quickly.
Aqueous Tear Deficient Dry Eye: This is when the lacrimal glands don’t produce enough of the aqueous layer of the tears. This will ultimately result in low tear production.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome – Dry eyes Symptoms and Treatment Options
Below are some symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome:
- Burning sensation in the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty working at a computer for long
- Difficulty reading
- Stringy mucus
- Feeling like sand is in your eyes
Diagnosis of Dry Eye Syndrome – Types of Dry Eye
There are multiple types of dry eye syndrome that can be diagnosed. Here is a couple of them:
This test is done to determine how salty your tears are – the main ones of the types of dry eye. During this test, a health care practitioner will collect a small number of your tears. The sample will be inserted into a device known as a tear lab. The device will analyze the tears and provide information that will help your doctor determine if you have the condition.
A lipiscan is done to see if the meibomian glands are healthy. During the test, a lipiscan (which is an imaging device) will be used to take pictures of the upper and lower meibomian glands. The images will be analyzed to determine if the glands are blocked, healthy, or atrophied.
Here, a specialized tool is used to check the level of MMP-9 in the eyes. High levels of MMP-9 are a clear indication that a patient has dry eye syndrome.
This test is done to determine if the tear gland is producing enough moisture. During the test, a medical paper will be placed close to your lower eyelids. Your doctor will then instruct you to close your eyes. The paper will absorb tears from your eyes. After a couple of minutes, your doctor will examine the paper to see how far the tears traveled. If it traveled less than 15mm, chances are you have dry eye syndrome.
How to Treat Dry Eye Syndrome
Before recommending any treatment, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you some questions about the symptoms you are experiencing, your medical history, the medications you are on, and your occupation.
Listed are a few recommendations your doctor may make afterwards to answer your question “How to Treat Dry Eye Syndrome”:
- Lacrimal Plugs: Lacrimal plugs are recommended when the condition is severe. The plugs help block the draining holes in the eyes to reduce tear loss.
- Artificial Tears: If the condition isn’t severe, your doctor may recommend artificial tears (eye drops).
- Medications: An anti-inflammatory medication known as “Restasis” is usually recommended for dry eye syndrome. The drug helps to increase the number of tears produced by the cornea.
- Surgery: Your doctor will recommend a surgical procedure if other treatments don’t work. During the procedure, the draining holes in the eyes are plugged in permanently.
How to Manage Dry Eye Syndrome
Stop Smoking: Cigarette smoke can increase the risk of developing dry eye syndrome since smoke can irritate the eyes.
Rest Your Eyes: Spending long hours reading, watching television, and using your computer may dry out your eyes. Try to take breaks every so that your eyes can regain their moisture.
Take Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Some foods rich in Omega-3 are:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and sardines
- Soybean oil
- When should I see a doctor? You should seek medical attention if the condition leads to complications that affect your vision.
- What increases the risk of dry eye syndrome? According to one study, factors like old age, vitamin A deficiency, corneal refractive surgery, antihistamines, and hepatitis c can all increase the risk of one developing the condition.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!