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Health and Fitness

What Causes Dry Eyes? – Bharti Eye Foundation

What is Dry Eye

Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Tears can be inadequate and unstable for many reasons. For example, dry eyes may occur if you don’t produce enough tears or if you produce poor-quality tears. This tear instability leads to inflammation and damage of the eye’s surface.

It’s unpleasant to have dry eyes. Your eyes could burn or sting if you have dry eyes. When riding a bike, in an air-conditioned environment, on an airline, or after staring at a computer screen for a while, you could suffer dry eyes.

You might feel better at ease with treatments for dry eyes. Lifestyle modifications and eyedrops are two examples of these treatments. These actions will probably need to be taken continuously to control the symptoms of dry eyes.

The Role of Tears

A film of tears covers the eye when you blink. This preserves the clear, flat surface of the eye. Good vision depends on the tear film.

There are three levels in the tear film:

  • An oily covering
  • A layer of water
  • Mucous layer

The tear film’s layers each have a specific function.

The tear film’s outside is made up of the oily layer. It makes the tear surface smooth and slows down the rate of tear drying.

This layer is created in the meibomian glands of the eye.

The watery layer makes up the tear film’s centre.

This layer purifies the eye by removing foreign objects from the eye. The lacrimal glands in the eyelids are where this layer originates.

The mucus layer is the tear film’s inner layer. This aids in distributing the watery layer and keeps the eye’s surface moist. Mucus is necessary for tears to adhere to the eye.

Conjunctiva is where mucus is produced. This is the transparent tissue that lines your eyelids and covers the white of your eye.

Our eyes naturally produce tears all the time to stay moist. Our eyes produce a lot of tears when we cry or when they are irritated. However, occasionally the tear film is affected or the eyes don’t produce enough tears. In those circumstances, we get dry eyes.

Risk factors & causes

When the balance between tear production and drainage is off, dry eyes can result. Tears from dry eye sufferers are either insufficient or of low quality.

Too little tears were shed. A number of glands located in and around the eyelids create tears.

  • With ageing, certain medical problems, or as a side effect of some medications, tear production frequently decreases. Additionally, due to increased tear evaporation, environmental factors including wind and dry weather might reduce tear volume. Dry eye symptoms can appear when the eyes’ natural tear production is reduced or when tears evaporate too quickly.
  • Poor quality of tears. Oil, water, and mucus make up the three layers of tears. Each element nurtures and safeguards the front surface of the eye. A thin oil coating protects the water layer from evaporation, while the mucin layer distributes the tears evenly throughout the surface of the eye. Dry eye symptoms can arise if the tears evaporate too rapidly or do not cover the cornea uniformly because one or more of the three tear layers is not functioning properly.

Many factors can lead to dry eyes, including:

  • Age. The natural ageing process includes dry eyes. Over 65s are more likely to encounter some dry eye problems.
  • Gender. Because of hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy, oral contraceptive usage, and menopause, women are more likely than males to experience dry eyes.
  • Medications. Antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure meds, and antidepressants are a few drugs that can decrease tear formation.
  • Disease states. Dry eye symptoms are more prevalent in those with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid issues.
  • Additionally, issues with blepharitis, inflammation of the eye surfaces, or the inward or outward turning of the eyelids can result in dry eyes.
  • Environmental factors Dry eye symptoms can be exacerbated by wind, smoke, and dry environments that enhance tear evaporation. The eyes can dry out as a result of irregular blinking, which can happen when someone spends a lot of time staring at a computer screen.

The front surface of the eye may get damaged by advanced dry eyes, affecting vision.

What signs or symptoms are there of dry eye?

As a result of dry eye

  • Sensation scratchy, like if something is in your eye
  • Feelings of stinging or burning in your eyes
  • “Red” eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Cloudy vision

How is dry eye treated?

Consult our best optometrist or ophthalmologist about your treatment choices (eye doctor). If so, treating the underlying condition is also necessary to treat the dry eyes.

The following are some typical remedies for dry eyes:

  • Topical eye drops containing cyclosporine The cyclosporine A drops normally take 1 to 4 months to start reducing dry eye symptoms and indications. These drops have been verified as secure. The main side effect is stinging right away following application, which usually becomes better as treatment is continued. Sometimes, in order to expedite the process and lessen the stinging brought on by the cyclosporine A, the doctor will additionally administer corticosteroid drops for two weeks shortly prior to the therapy. The possibility that corticosteroids will result in glaucoma and cataracts prevents their long-term use.
  • Trademark Xiidra® of lifitegrast  The FDA has approved Xiidra for the treatment of dry eye conditions’ symptoms and signs, with an action beginning as soon as two weeks. It is the first medication of the recently authorised class of drugs called LFA-1 antagonists, which works by blocking lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1.

Ointments and artificial tears:

  • Artificial tear production is a palliative (soothing) treatment that temporarily relieves symptoms but does not address the underlying cause of dry eye illness. There are over-the-counter artificial tears available.
  • You might need to experiment to find the drop that works for you since no drop is universally effective. Even when your eyes feel OK if you have chronic (long-lasting) dry eye, it’s crucial to use the drops to keep them moisturised. Use a heavier lubricant, like an ointment, at night if your eyes dry up while you’re sleeping. The lipid in more recent artificial tears helps to stop tear evaporation if you have dry eyes and ocular rosacea. Since preservatives are likely to make your situation worse, if you use artificial tears four or more times each day, you should use unpreserved artificial tears.
  • Temporary punctal occlusion: Occasionally, it’s necessary to close the ducts that drain tears from the eye. The plug will go instantly.
  • Permanent punctal occlusion: (Some medical professionals will skip temporary punctual occlusion and go straight to silicone plugs.) For as long as they are in situ, the permanent plugs will stop tears from falling into the eyes. They can be taken away. The plugs may occasionally arrive. They are reversible. Rarely, the plugs may travel down the tear drain or come out on their own. The plugs enhance comfort and lessen the need for artificial tears, according to several patients.
  • Surgery: To keep more tears near the eye, it may be necessary to permanently restrict the ducts that drain tears into the nose.

These therapies can significantly reduce symptoms.


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