About a quarter of the population is thought to suffer from some level of Dry Eye Syndrome. This condition is characterized by itchy, scratchy or burning eyes, the sensation of debris along with light sensitivity. In recent years, Dry Eye has received more attention from the medical community leading to the rise of its diagnoses. So what is it?
Dry Eye Syndrome is a medical condition in which tear production is reduced or the composition of tears is changed causing them to evaporate quickly. As a result, the affected eyes will try to compensate by stepping up tear production giving the appearance of ‘watery eyes.’ The only problem is that these tears are inferior and do not adequately lubricate the eyes.
Physicians are unsure of how Dry Eye starts in humans, but know it’s part hormonal and lifestyle based. Women over the age of 50 are more like to develop Dry Eye than their younger counterparts. However, this syndrome is also associated with long periods of staring into a Computer Screen, indoor heat and air conditioning, fluorescent lights, alcohol and smoking. As a result, the treatment of Dry Eye is usually comprehensive.
After a visit to an ophthalmologist to make sure you have Dry Eye, the following will be recommended:
* Management of your environment. You’ll have to avoid smoky rooms, extended use of computers and allergens.
* Diet alteration. You may be asked to reduce the intake of alcohol and cigarette. You will also be asked to take supplements that include omega-3 fatty acids to help alleviate the condition.
* Medical review of your current prescriptions. Some blood pressure medicines, birth control pills and antihistamines exacerbate Dry Eye, so you may be asked to discontinue the use of them or alter your prescription.
* Good Eye Hygiene. This means keeping the eye area clean from bacteria, which can be done by washing your face daily. You’ll have to pay special attention to remove make-up properly or anything you may wear on your eye.
* Artificial tear therapy. Your doctor may prescribe a particular eye drop for you to use that will help lubricate the eyes.
* The use of Cyclosporine A (or Tetracycline therapy). Cyclosporine A reduces inflammation in the eye and also increases tear production.
* Punctual (lacrimal) plugs inserted into the tear ducts. This painless procedure will be done in the doctor’s office and will help reduce Dry Eye.
* Surgery to permanently close the tear ducts. This will be suggested only in extreme conditions.
In conclusion, Dry Eye is a condition that affects many Americans, but can be handled if diagnosed properly. If you feel you are suffering from it, it’s important to visit your doctor immediately. Just remember, the remedy is usually simple, if caught early.