Dry Eye Syndrome


Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Consequences of dry eyes range from subtle but constant eye irritation to significant inflammation and even scarring of the front surface of the eye.

Symptoms of dry eyes and dry eye syndrome include:

• Burning sensation
• Itchy eyes
• Aching sensations
• Heavy eyes
• Fatigued eyes
• Sore eyes
• Dryness sensation
• Red eyes
• Photophobia (light sensitivity)
• Blurred vision

Another common symptom is something called a foreign body sensation — the feeling that grit or some other object or material is “in” your eye.

And as odd as it may sound, watery eyes also can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. This is because dryness on the eye’s surface sometimes will over-stimulate production of the watery component of your tears as a protective mechanism. But this “reflex tearing” does not stay on the eye long enough to correct the underlying dry eye condition.

The following is a list of dry eye treatments that are commonly used by eye doctors to reduce the signs and symptoms of dry eyes.

Artificial Tears
For mild cases of dry eyes caused by computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes, the best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops. Artificial tears and other over-the-counter (OTC) lubricating eye drops are available in a wide variety of ingredients and viscosity (“thickness”).

Steroid Eye Drops Inflammation frequently causes the redness and burning associated with dry eye disease; but in many cases, it may be present without any visible signs or symptoms. Artificial tears usually do not adequately address these inflammatory changes, steroid eye drops are recommended to better manage the underlying inflammation associated with dry eyes.

Lacrisert Lacrisert is a solid insert composed of a preservative-free lubricating agent (hydroxypropyl cellulose) that slowly liquefies over time, providing an all-day moistening effect. The device has been proven to relieve dry eye symptoms

Punctal Plugs Punctal plugs are sometimes used in dry eye treatment to help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer.

Warm Compresses
An alternative (and potentially more comfortable) way to help open clogged meibomian glands to treat dry eyes is to simply apply warm compresses to the closed eyelids to soften the hardened meibum. (Temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes, at least twice a day)

The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System (TearScience) is an automated dry eye treatment that combines the best features of warm compress therapy and meibomian gland expression
The patented device fits onto the eye and also over the eyelids and applies precisely controlled heat to the lids to soften hardened meibum. At the same time, the LipiFlow system applies pulsed pressure to the eyelids to open and express clogged meibomian glands, thereby restoring the correct balance of oils in the tear film to relieve dry eye syndrome. Typically, the beneficial effects of the LipiFlow procedure last one to three years or longer.

Intense Pulsed Light
In IPL treatment, a hand-held device flashes bright light onto the skin. The light is filtered to allow only wavelengths that can be absorbed by the dilated blood vessels. The effect of this treatment may be the resolution of the dilated vessels and associated inflammation.

Nutritional Supplements
Studies have found that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms.

Good sources of omega-3s include cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring cod, flaxseed oil to relieve dry eye.

There are several things you can try to get relief before going to the eye doctor:
1). Blink more often when using screen devices.
2).Take frequent breaks during computer use.
3). When outdoors during the day, always wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays to protect your eyes from wind, dust and other irritants that can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms.

Often there’s no “quick fix” for dry eyes. Follow your eye doctor’s instructions and be patient for results from dry eye treatment.

-Dr Yemisi is a Health enthusiast who has a passion for writing and educating the public on health and wellness. She can be reached by email (yemisi.ajibade@gmail.com)

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