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Dry Eyes Syndrome: What It Is And How To Treat It!

Last Updated on January 7, 2021

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic (and sometimes progressive) condition that occurs when your eyes can’t produce enough tears to stay hydrated or when your tears aren’t capable of providing adequate lubrication for your eyes – mostly because they evaporate too quickly.

It is one of the most common eye problems, affecting one-third of the population at least once during their lifetime, mostly after the age of 50. It is also more common in people who wear contact lenses and women –hormonal changes resultant of pregnancy, menopause, and the use of birth control pills increase the risk of dry eyes.

Tears are produced and secreted by the lacrimal glands, located around the eyes. They are composed of water (for moisture), mucus (for an even distribution of the tear film), oils (for lubrication), and antibodies and proteins (for protection against infections).

When tear production and secretion are affected, you start experiencing a series of symptoms that cause great discomfort.

Symptoms of dry eye include:

-Light sensitivity

-Eye redness

-Burning or itching sensation in the eye

-Blurred vision

-Abnormal eye fatigue

-A feeling that something is stuck in your eye

-Watery eyes (this might sound contradictory, but in about 40% of the cases

this condition causes reflex tearing – the lack of moistures causes eye irritation which in turn leads your organism to produce a high flux of tears. However, these tears are almost entirely made of water and won’t improve your dry eyes condition)

Eventually, dry eyes may lead to more serious issues such as infections, inflammation, corneal ulcer, and vision problems that may affect your life tremendously and inhibit you from performing eye demanding tasks such as reading or working at the computer.

What causes dry eye:

As we have already said, the dry eye syndrome can occur for two distinct reasons: a decrease in tear production, or fast tear evaporation. That means that the underlying factors that lead to each of those problems are also necessarily different.
A decrease in tear production:

-Aging

-Medical conditions such as arthritis, lupus, thyroid problems,
scleroderma, diabetes, and vitamin a deficiency

-Tear gland damage

-Laser eye surgery

-Medications such as antihistamines (usually prescribed to control allergic reactions), antidepressants, hormone therapy drugs, decongestants, birth control pills, among others.

Fast tear evaporation:

-Environmental conditions such as wind, dry air, and smoke

-Being concentrated for too long – usually when reading or working at the computer, as we have mentioned. This occurs because you blink less often when you are extremely focused.
-Environmental conditions such as wind, dry air, and smoke

-Eyelid problems
There is also the possibility that this problem could be caused by an imbalance in tear composition. That is, if a membrane responsible for producing one of the substances present in tears becomes affected, it can alter tear composition and make them less effective.

Dry eye treatment and prevention tips:

Dry eyes syndrome is often a mild condition that can be treated with remedies such as eye drops that function as artificial tears or tear-stimulating drugs, or with a simple procedure such as closing your tear ducts – the part of the tear drainage system responsible to drain tears through the nasal bone and into the back of the nose.

Talk to your doctor so he can find the best way to treat your dry eye condition.
Prevention is just as important as treatment. That’s why we decided to give you a few tips that will help you decrease the risk of developing this eye condition.

1. Use an air humidifier

Depending on where you live, an air humidifier can do wonders for your overall health – especially if you suffer from dry eyes. This device simply adds moisture in the air making your tears evaporate a lot slower. If you live in a dusty area, consider buying an air filter because dust can also cause eye irritation.

2. Drink water and stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential for all our body functions, and it also ensures that our eyes keep producing tears at an ideal rate. How much water should you drink a day?

According to health authorities, about half a gallon. But keep in mind that this may vary depending on the individual – men usually need to drink more water than women, for example.

3. Decrease your screen time

If you suffer from dry eyes, you should limit the amount of time you spend looking at a screen during the day. Looking at a screen for too long will make you blink much less and cause your eyes to dehydrate quickly.

You should also make sure you adjust the brightness of your screen and position your computer monitor at eye level to reduce strain. If your work requires you to sit for 8 hours in front of it, make sure you take a 5 to 10-minute break every hour (and don’t use your smartphone during that break).

4. Keep your eyes clean

People who suffer from this condition or are at great risk should pay special attention to their personal hygiene routine. You must clean your eyelids and eyelashes to prevent debris from building up over time and damage your eyes. Use a cotton pad, warm water, and gentle movements to clean those areas.

5. Cucumber slices

You have probably already seen an Instagram influencer sharing a photo with cucumber slices covering her eyes as a part of her beauty routine, right?

According to experts, cucumbers reduce swelling around the eyes, hydrate, and unclog oil-producing glands. They are also a great way to moisturize the eyes. Try it! You’ll look funny, but who cares.

6. Use eyeglasses instead of contact lenses

Regular contact lenses cause dry eyes to some people. If that’s your case, you should wear eyeglasses every time you can and save the contact lenses for specific occasions.

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