Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) Symptoms And Treatment – An Overview

We need tears to moisten our eyes, cleanse foreign particles entering our eyes, and maintain good vision. A tear film contains three layers: an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucus layer, where each layer serves a purpose. The oily layer is the outermost layer that keeps the tear film smooth and prevents tears from drying up.

The watery layer lies between the oily layer and the mucus layer and helps keep the eyes clean. Lastly, the mucus layer, which is the innermost layer of the tear film, helps the watery layer spread over the eye’s surface and keep the eyes moist. This explains how tears are important for eye health.

Simple home remedies for dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome, also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a chronic multifactorial disease affecting the tear film that covers the cornea.

This mostly occurs when the eyes cannot produce tears, produce an insufficient quantity of tears, or have imbalances in the oil, water, and mucus in the tear fluid, causing irritation, inflammation, or blurred vision.

Dry Eye treatment

This article will investigate the symptoms and causes of dry eye syndrome in humans, and ultimately, we will also explore ways to treat and prevent it. Simple home remedies to treat dry eye include staying hydrated, cold compress, blinking more, etc

Signs And Symptoms Of Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome can have several symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The potential symptoms may include:

  • A stinging and burning sensation in the eyes
  • Inflammation and redness in the eye
  • A sandy, gritty, or scratchy feeling in the eye
  • The sensation of a foreign body in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive blinking
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Mucus secretion
  • Epiphora, or watery eyes, is produced in response to pain and irritation in the eyes caused by extreme dryness.

Causes And Risk Factors

There are numerous etiologies that contribute to dry eye syndrome, which include medical and surgical interventions, systemic diseases, environmental factors, and more. Here are the common factors that cause and increase the risk of developing DED.

  • Systemic medications: These medications are said to affect the entire body and are given to patients through injection, infusion, or orally. Medications like diuretics, corticosteroids, antihypertensives, anxiolytics, isotretinoin, and antidepressants can cause DES.
  • Topical medications: These are medications that are applied to the body to treat a specific area. This includes creams, ointments, lotions, and drops. Eye drops and glaucoma drops can also make the eyes dry.
  • Medical condition: Diseases like thyroid disease, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune diseases can raise the risk of dry eyes.
  • Eye surgeries: Surgeries like LASIK, cataract surgery, lid surgery, and keratoplasty can increase the risk of DES.
  • Insufficient or excessive intake of vitamins: especially vitamin A, can lead to the development of xerophthalmia and spots in the conjunctiva, causing extreme dryness in the eyes.
  • Environmental factors: Increased exposure to chemical fumes, pollution, smoke, or low-humidity environments may cause dry eye syndrome in humans.
  • Lifestyle-related factors: Activities like reading or looking at computer screens or mobile screens that reduce blinking can make the eyes dry. Smoking and using contact lenses can also increase the risk of developing DED.
  • Age: Dry eye syndrome is common among people over the age of 65.
  • Gender: DES affects women more than men due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, menopause, or with the consumption of contraceptive pills.

Treatment And Prevention

There are many effective treatments available to treat even extreme dry eye syndrome conditions.

  • If the diagnosis finds that the development of dry eye syndrome is due to side effects from any medications you take, doctors would prescribe alternative medications.
  • Doctors may recommend various types of eye drops that range from artificial tears, topical cyclosporine A eye drops, ointments, and varenicline nasal spray to autologous serum drops to relieve the symptoms.
  • Therapeutic contact lenses can be helpful in lubricating and protecting the surface of the eye. Soft bandage lenses and rigid scleral lenses are the most recommended therapeutic contact lenses.

Tips To Prevent DES

  • Take frequent breaks from watching TV or using computers or mobile phones.
  • In order to reduce extremely dry environments, it is suggested to use humidifiers.
  • Always use goggles or glasses when exposed to dusty and windy environments.
  • Taking vitamin and omega-3 supplements supports tear production and reduces the severity of the symptoms.
  • It is also advisable to do yearly checkups if you are concerned about developing DES.

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Final thoughts

Dry eye syndrome is a medical condition that arises when our eyes cannot produce tears. DES mostly causes mild discomfort but can lead to more serious issues that could affect your vision and damage the cornea.

According to the nature and severity of the symptoms, doctors decide what treatments you will receive. In most cases, they will prescribe eye drops and medications to induce tear production, reduce complications, and suppress the symptoms

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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