What is Dry Eyes?
The eyes are kept moist by a thin layer of tear film over the Cornea which is spread across by the action of blinking of our eye lids. This tear film consists of three different layers with their respective functions. The bottom layer which is closest to the surface of the Cornea is made of Mucin which helps to ensure that the tear film is spread out equally and evenly. The layer above that is the Aqueous layer which contains water and proteins that help to fight germs. The top layer is made of lipids which keep the aqueous layer from evaporating.
In Dry eye syndrome, there is a persistent lack of lubrication and adherence of moisture to the front surface of the eye. This causes symptoms like irritation, stinging and excessive tearing. In severe cases of dry eyes, it becomes almost impossible to work on the computer or read for long hours.
There are 2 Types of Dry Eyes Syndromes:
- Evaporative Dry Eyes – The tear layer on the cornea evaporates easily because the cells that produce the oily layer are malfunctioning and not producing enough lipids
- Aqueous Deficient Dry Eyes – The gland that produces the water is malfunctioning and not producing enough water
What causes dry eyes?
The afore mentioned types of dry eyes can be caused by many different factors. But the most common causes would be:
- Environmental Conditions
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause can actually trigger the onset of Dry Eyes
- Incomplete closure of eye lids which can also cause the tear film to evaporate faster
- Side effects of certain drugs
Treatment for Dry Eyes
Dry Eyes will have to be treated based on the type and severity of the syndrome. Treatment options include artificial tears, punctal occlusions or even medication.
For those with mild forms of Dry Eyes can easily seek out over the counter artificial tears for temporary relief. If artificial tears do not give the desired relief, then ointments would be recommended. However, ointments are not suitable for day time use as they may cause temporary haziness of the vision.
How to prevent Dry Eyes
Certain forms of Dry Eyes cannot be prevented. However, we can make environmental and habitual changes to negate the risks of developing Dry Eyes.
Having an air conditioner directly overhead while working long hours on the computer is a bad idea. Working intensively on the computer for long hours causes us to blink less and the evaporative effects of the air-conditioner fastens the drying process. Taking frequent breaks to walk away from the computer and having a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids would do the eyes much good. Avoiding smoky or dusty environments would also help to keep the eyes moist. If you are a contact lens wearer, then Acuvue Daily Disposables with Lacreon technology which lock in moisture would be the ideal choice.
Stay Healthy & Stay Happy!