Dry Eye Syndrome
The lacrimal glands secrete tears on the surface of the eye constantly made up the so-called lacrimal layer which plays an important role in eye health and clarity of vision, where bathe the surface of the eye, keeping it moist, and wash away dust and debris. They also help protect the eye from bacterial and other types of infections.
Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time.
Types of Dry Eyes
1. Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye is a disorder in which the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface.
2. Evaporative dry eye may result from inflammation of the Meibomian glands, also located in the eyelids. These glands make the oily part of tears that slow evaporation and keep the tears stable.
Elderly people frequently experience dry eyes, but it can occur at any age.
Dry eye can be a temporary or chronic condition. The possible causes of dry eye syndrome:
· A side effect of some medication, including antihistamines, certain blood pressure medicines, birth control pills and anti-depressant.
· Inflammation of the surface of the eye, the lacrimal gland, or the conjunctiva.
· Blockage of tear duct.
· Increasing in the surface of the eye, as in thyroid disease when the eye protrudes forward.
· After refractive or cosmetic surgeries.
· Corneal ulcers and infection.
· Long-term contact lens wear can lead to dry eye.
· Chemical and thermal burns that scar the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the eye.
· Infrequent blinking associated with staring at computer or watching TV.
· Stinging or burning of the eye.
· Foreign body sensation
· Pain and redness of the eye.
· Episodes of blurred vision.
· Heavy eyelids.
· Inability to cry when emotionally stressed.
· Uncomfortable contact lens.
· Decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention.
· Eye fatigue.
Tests for Dry Eye
Tests may include bio microscope exam of film tears, or by placing filter paper inside the lower lid of the eye after a few minutes, the paper is removed and tested for its moisture contact .
· Lubricating ointments, wetting drops called artificial tears.
· Hot compresses or eyelash cleaning.
· Tiny plugs placed in the tear drainage ducts to help the tears stay on the surface of the eye.
· Surgical intervention for very severe cases with ulceration or corneal perforation.
If dry eye left untreated, it can lead to pain, ulcers or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. However, permanent loss of vision from dry eye is uncommon.
How to protect the eye?
· Use your prescribed lubricants as instructed.
· Indoor, an air cleaner to filter dust and other particles helps prevent dry eyes.
· Avoid dry conditions and allow your eyes to rest when performing activities that require using your eye for a long period of time.
Revised November 2015