Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects people of all ages and genders. It can be caused by a range of factors, such as environmental conditions, health issues, and medication. Most people present this syndrome in their lives, but leaving it unattended or just treated by home remedies can have long-term consequences for your health.
Here we’ll reveal some insights into what dry eye means, its causes, symptoms, and your treatment options:
What are Dry Eyes?
Dry eye syndrome is a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, causing discomfort, irritation, and inflammation. This can be problematic since tears are essential for the health and well-being of the eyes as they provide moisture, lubrication, and protection against infection. But, why does this happen?
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye is a common condition that is caused by a lack of moisture on the eye’s surface. This can be brought on by a variety of factors, including excessive exposure to wind, air pollution, and dust or sand particles. Additionally, the use of certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants, can cause dry eyes. Other contributing factors to present it include aging as well as certain medical conditions, such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. Some lifestyle habits can also have an important impact such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of sleep. Hormonal changes and menopause can cause it, too!
We shouldn’t forget about our digital lifestyles these days which can rise your chances of developing dry eye. Digital device use and increased screen time are significant contributing factors to dry eye. Wearing old technology contact lenses or even certain eye procedures such as LASIK and cataract surgery should also be considered to explain why some people deal with this issue.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing symptoms such as irritation, redness, burning, itching, and a gritty sensation. In more severe cases, dry eyes can also lead to blurred vision or even damage to the surface of the eye. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention so that the underlying cause of your dry eyes can be identified and treated.
Exploring Different Types of Dry Eyes:
While dry eyes share common symptoms, it is important to note that there are different types. Let's discuss them briefly:
Evaporative dry eye
It affects the oily outer layer (lipid layer), causing tears to evaporate too quickly. Sometimes the glands that make the glands that make the lipid layer are affected, too; this is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
Aqueous dry eye
This happens when there aren't enough tears being made to keep the eye health
Mixed dry eye
A combination of evaporative and aqueous dry eye occurs when both the watery and oily layers of the tear film are affected. This is the most common type of dry eye.
Different types of dry eyes might require different treatments. It is quite important to consult your optometrist before using medication. But what can be done to treat this issue?
Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome
There are several ways to treat dry eyes, including what you can do at home:
You can start by making changes to the environment, taking breaks from screen time, wearing sunglasses, or using a humidifier in dry environments. Apply the 20/20/20 rule - every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to focus on something at least 20 feet away. Changes in diet, including Omega-3 supplementation (re-esterified form) and increasing water intake are key to defeating dry eyes. You can also use warm compresses and improve your lid hygiene.
Remember that at-home treatments can offer some relief, but they shouldn't be seen as a complete solution for you to manage your condition on your own. These treatments might be helpful if they're recommended and overseen by your optometrist. It's worth remembering that there could be clinical signs that you're not even aware of which can greatly influence the effectiveness of these treatments.
At Red House Vision Centre, we aim to ensure you receive a proper comprehensive diagnosis, management plan, and treatment tailored to your needs.
This involves considering not just medical aspects, but also non-medical elements and lifestyle factors. You should know there are various treatment options available for your condition, such as:
Artificial tears – Over-the-counter eye drops that can lubricate and moisturize the eyes.
Prescription eye drops – Stronger eye drops that can help increase tear production.
Punctal plugs – Tiny plugs that can be inserted to slow down tear drainage.
IPL/RF and Lipiflow - Advanced therapy options involving light pulse therapy and radio frequency therapy.
Remember, managing dry eyes requires patience and consistency in following the treatment plan prescribed by your healthcare professional.
Don't underestimate the potential dangers of untreated dry eye; take proactive measures to protect your eye health today. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to consult an eye care professional for a proper diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan. Visit Red House Vision Centre and let Dr. Jane Yang determine the best solution for your dry eye condition!