Dry Eyes – Causes And Treatment

dry eyesYour eyes will be full of tears even when you are in a happy mood. The tears help to provide lubrication and moisture which helps you to see and keep your eyes comfortable. Tears are a mix of water, oil, mucus and antibodies. These ingredients are secreted by special glands around the eyes. You get dry eyes when your tear system gets affected.

When tears are not able to moisturize your eyes, you get a feeling of :

  • Itching
  • A feeling like there is something in your eye
  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Gritty feeling

At times, you experience a condition called reflex tearing where the dry eyes cause more tears to flow. It is because of the irritation in your eyes due to lack of moisture. A distress signal will be sent to the brain for lubrication. In order to clear dryness, your body then sends a flood of tears. It is similar to sand getting in your eyes and then tears flowing out. But the difference is the tears are mostly of water and are not like normal tears. They cannot coat your eye’s surface and only washes the debris away.

Dry Eyes – Causes

Lack of balance in your tear flow system can cause dry eyes. Sometimes things around you like AC, heater can dry out your tear film. Below are the other causes of dry eyes:

  • Side effects of certain medications like antihistamines
  • Aging process especially menopause
  • Any other problem due to which you are unable to close your eyelids in a normal way
  • Disease like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and collagen vascular disease that affect your ability to make tears

Dry Eyes – Treatment

Many options are available for treatment of dry eyes. Check with your doctor on what to do. Below are some of the treatments available:

Temporary Punctal Occlusion

Your doctor might choose to close the duct that drains the tears from your eye. For this he may use a temporary plug which will dissolve over time. Based on how effective it is, the doctor will know whether permanent plug works or not.

Artificial tear drops and ointments

Many over the counter drops are available and is the most common treatment for dry eyes. One product may not work for you. You may have to try a few products and determine the one that works best for you. If you are suffering from chronic dry eyes, then you will have to use the drops even when you feel fine. Otherwise they won’t stay hydrated enough. You can use a thick product like an ointment if your eyes dry out while sleeping. You can even use airtight goggles while sleeping as they help to create a mini moist chamber for your eyes.

Lipiflow

It is a medical device which uses heat and pressure to clear the blocked glands on your eyelids. These glands secrete oil into your tears. Also it keeps your eyes hydrated and prevents the evaporation of your tears.

Punctal Occlusion By Cautery

Your doc may look for longer lasting plugs if the temporary ones work. For this he might even perform a procedure called cautery. Firstly, he will give you a drug to relax you. Then with the help of a special tool, uses heat to burn the opening shut. The scar that forms due to this acts as a permanent plug. These measures help to block the drain pipe through which the tears flow from your eyes to your nose and increases the tear level. Tear plugs are easily removable and at times they come off on their own or flow down the drain pipe. They help to make your eyes better and reduce the need for artificial tears.

Cyclosporine

It is prescription eye drops. It helps the eyes to boost the tear production.

Testosterone Cream

One of the causes of dry eyes may be lack of testosterone in the oil glands on your eyelids.  It is very rare. In this case your doc may give testosterone cream to apply to your eyelids. This also helps your oil glands to perform better.

Lifitegrast

In order to kick start the tear formation, these drops are taken twice daily.

Nutrition and other medications

Along with long term remedies, you can use steroids for short periods. You can include omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil to your diet which helps to tackle dry eyes.

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