- Dry air environments or eye strain in front of the computer are lifestyle conditions that can cause dry eyes.
- A medical cause of dry eyes is age and some drugs contribute to, or may contribute to, dry eye problems.
- The use of contact lenses can help you with dry eyes and it is always important to find the root cause of dry eyes.
The most common symptoms of dry eyes are that the eyes sting, itch, are dry, red, feel awkward or drain.
In more severe conditions, the eye can also cause pain, visual acuity (eg blurred vision) and light sensitivity.
Dry eyes are more common than most people know
Dry eyes affect everyday life for between 10 – 20% of the earth’s population, despite the condition receiving very limited attention. Those who are forced to live with the symptoms often do not know that dry eyes can be treated.
Which is a problem since failure to treat in the long term can lead to a chronic disease with an increased risk of infections, ulcerations and impaired vision.
Then dry eyes arise
Normally, the tear glands of the eye continuously secrete tear fluid and when blinking, the tear fluid is distributed into a thin film over the surface of the eye. This means that the light can be refracted evenly through the cornea and the eye does not dry out. Dry eyes are often characterized by a decreased ability of the tear glands to form tears, and/or that something disturbs the tear duct so that the fluid does not reach into the eye. Dry eyes can also be because the tear fluid has too little fat, as the glands cannot produce or produce fat of poor quality. If the tear film is of poor quality, the eye quickly becomes dry and the tear glands try to compensate by increasing the secretion of tear fluid, with runny eyes as usual symptoms.
There are many underlying factors that can cause problems with dry eyes and often several factors can work together and therefore the symptoms usually differ from individual to individual even though the symptoms may be similar or even identical.
Examples of causes for dry eyes
Medical causes of dry eyes can be
- Age – with age, the body’s ability to produce tear fluid decreases
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Diseases such as Parkinson’s, diabetes or lupus
- Permits such as menopause, thyroid problems, pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis (the latter two may also cause dry mouth)
Examples of drugs that contribute or can contribute to dry eyes are
- Nasal drops
- Beta-blocking agents
- Blood Pressure Medications
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Ulcers Medications
Lifestyle conditions that often contribute to dry eyes
- Use of contact lenses
- Eye strain in front of computer screen
- Office or residential environment with dry air
Physical causes of dry eyes:
- Disturbances, constrictions or stoppages of the tear ducts
- Disturbances, constrictions or fat deposits in the glands
- Wounds or scars under the eyelids or eyelid edges
Dry eye symptoms
The symptoms of dry eyes can vary widely and can be e.g.
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Stinging eyes
- Horrible eyes
- Watery eyes
- Blurry occasionally
- Light sensitivity
Dry eye examination
Dry eye specialist should be examined. By mapping the background and reason for the current symptoms, the possibility of proper treatment and thus the likelihood of a symptom-free life increases.
When examining, for example, the composition and quality of the tear fluid should be analyzed. The fat glands of the eye are controlled, this is done with the new technology that allows the use of a special camera to assess the status and function of the glands. In the examination of dry eyes, a check is also made of tear ducts, cornea and mucous membranes of the eye to ensure that there are no constrictions or injuries. Only then should treatment be recommended and, if necessary, follow-up examinations should be booked. The initial examination usually takes about an hour and is painless. At present, such examinations can only be done at private clinics where you pay yourself.
Dry eye treatment
There are many non-prescription products for dry eye treatment, but the optimal treatment is individualized and is based on the individual’s diagnosis. Prescription-free products can temporarily help or alleviate symptoms, but treatment should not be initiated without diagnosis as they can at worst aggravate the problems.
An individualized treatment is based on the mapping of the causes of each individual’s symptoms. A correct diagnosis is not only the key to the best possible treatment but usually also saves time. This type of diagnosis is made by a specialist in dry eyes, and today Sweden is the only specialist in dry eyes north of Stockholm.
Early treatment preferred
As almost always in medical contexts, early treatment is preferable and for individuals with dry eyes, the opportunities for a symptom-free life increase significantly.
Conversely, it is important to point out the risks of not seeking help for their problems with dry eyes such as infections, ulcerations and impaired vision.
Source: World Eye Hospital