What is it?
Dry eye is a disease that consists of a deficit in the quantity of tears and / or a deterioration in the quality of these, producing inflammation of the surface of the eye. It is usually bilateral and is more frequent in women than in men, especially during and after menopause.
A safe and effective way to treat dry eyes is to take Vitamins, Minerals and Omegas: Dry Eyes Home Remedies.
Symptoms of dry eye patients may include discomfort, stinging, itching, burning, dryness and grittiness, even blurred vision and fluctuating visual acuity.
These symptoms are usually aggravated in dry, low humidity and windy environments. They are also aggravated when the patient stares and blinks infrequently.
Causes and risk factors
Dry eye is a multifactorial disease, meaning that there may be several causal factors. The most common cause is a hormonal disturbance leading to poor lacrimal gland function and decreased lacrimal secretion. Dry eye can be secondary to systemic diseases, particularly autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Risk factors for developing dry eye are:
- Age and gender. As we age, the risk of developing dry eye increases, especially for women.
- Contact lens use, regular use of eye drops, history of eye surgery.
- Incomplete closure of the eyelids and infrequent blinking of the eyes.
- Chronic inflammatory diseases of the ocular surface such as chronic allergic conjunctivitis and ocular burns.
- Patients with autoimmune disease.
- Use of certain chronic systemic medications such as antidepressants, antihypertensives and antihistamines, among others.
- Abusive use of computers or other electronic reading devices that require the patient to fix their eyesight, causing a decrease in blinking frequency, thus increasing evaporation of tears from the ocular surface.
- Dry, low humidity or windy environment.
The tear film is composed of 3 layers; the lipid layer produced by the Meibomius glands located in the eyelids, the aqueous layer produced by the major lacrimal glands and the mucin layer produced by cells on the surface of the eye. There are 3 main types of dry eye:
- Aqueous layer deficiency. Insufficient quantity of tears.
- Deficiency of the lipidic layer. The quantity of tears is normal, but there is an absence of the external layer made up of lipids which prevents the excessive evaporation of the tear film. The tears of these patients evaporate immediately, causing evaporative dryness of the eye.
- Mixed type combining deficiency of the aqueous layer and the lipid layer. This is the most common type.
Some risk factors for dry eye can be avoided, such as excessive use of computers, electronic reading devices and contact lens abuse.
If you cannot avoid using the computer for long consecutive hours, you should blink frequently while reading and rest for 5 minutes every hour to prevent the development of dry eye called computer vision syndrome.
Dry eye is a chronic condition for which there is no definitive treatment. Treatment has two goals; to prevent and heal possible damage to the surface of the eye caused by dryness and to alleviate the patient’s symptoms.
Treatment consists of:
- Substitute tears and increase lubrication of the ocular surface. Artificial tears are used, preferably without preservatives, in the form of eye drops, gel or ointment. In the most severe cases, the use of the patient’s own blood derivatives in eye drops may be an option.
- Avoid evaporation of the ocular surface of the tears by using glasses that cover the eyes completely, even on the sides.
- Reduce inflammation of the ocular surface caused by dryness by using anti-inflammatory eye drops. The use of this type of medication must be strictly controlled by an ophthalmologist as it has side effects such as increased intraocular pressure.
- To improve and stimulate the function of the meibomian tear glands of the eyelids, increasing the lipid layer in order to reduce the evaporation of the tear film. This can be achieved by local heat therapy on the eyelids, eyelid massage or cleaning of the eyelid margins. At the same time, increasing the amount of omega-3 in the daily diet also helps to improve the composition of the tears.
Improve the condition of the external environment by increasing the humidity with a humidifier or water containers that can hold large amounts of water, such as a basin.
The patient should be aware that blinking is of great importance for lubrication of the eye surface and should be done frequently, at least 12 to 15 times per minute.