Dry eye is a common, multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance and tears film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface, accompanied by changes in the quality of the tear film and ocular surface.
It has two main types:
- Aqueous Deficiency Dry Eye: where the tear production may be reduced,
- Evaporative Dry eye: where the tears are produced in normal amounts, but evaporate quicker than normal.
Causes of Dry eye :
There are various causes of dry eye. These may be structural abnormalities of the lids or functional (e.g., meibomian gland dysfunction). The other common causes are ocular surface irregularities, allergies, and contact lens wears.
Smoking causes deterioration in the lipid layer of the precorneal tear film leading to dry eye symptoms such as grittiness and burning sensations. The rate of evaporation also increases with a larger palpebral aperture (such as in up gaze), a longer blink interval, increased air flow, increased temperature, or reduced humidity.
Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. A recent study also indicates that the risk of dry eyes among men increases with age.
Treatment for Dry Eye :
Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that may not be completely curable (depending on the cause). But the accompanying dryness, scratchiness and burning can be managed. Treatment usually requires routine use of drops to supplement the dry surface. Apart from lubricating eye drops and antibiotic / anti-inflammatory drops, various treatments are available depending on the underlying cause. Punctal plugs can be inserted into the ducts that drain the tears of the eyes to prevent their outflow in severe cases. Certain modifications in the diet, with foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. in salmon) may help in the long term by reducing the risk of dry eye in certain individuals.
At Yash Eye Clinic, we offer a complete dry eye evaluation and systematic management of the same.