dry eye treatment

Dry eye treatment can vary according to the causes and the severity of the problem. Discuss your symptoms of dry eye with your ophthalmologist. The information below could to help you understand what dry eye syndrome is (also called simply dry eyes).

The medical term for dry eye syndrome is Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca and it is caused by a lack of tear production. Tears are a combination of water, proteins, mucus, oils, and antibodies. They moisten, protect from wind and debris, and help fight infection. They are secreted from tear glands located under your upper lids. Every time you blink a thin film spreads over your eyes.

What are the causes of dry eyes?

The causes for inadequate tear production can be biological and/or environmental:

  • Aging is one of the most common causes. The highest percentage is among women over 50 and it can be further aggravated by one or more causes as listed below.
  • Medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants
  • Contact lenses
  • Lasik and other corneal surgery
  • Eye lid surgery
  • Lack of blinking. People who sit in front of a computer for many hours tend not to blink enough
  • Dry heating or air conditioning
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Dry, dusty climates

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • A feeling that something is in your eye, like a grain of sand
  • Tearing eyes. Although it sounds contradictory, extreme dryness can stimulate tear production. But the tears created by irritation are not the same and do not contain the lubricating qualities needed to prevent dry eyes.

Treatment for dry eyes

Dry eye treatment must be based on the cause and severity of the problem:

  • Avoid car air conditioners, fans and dry heating.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Avoid smoke and dust.
  • Drink lots of water, 8 glasses a day.
  • Avoid drinks that have caffeine (coffee, cola) and alcohol, they dehydrate
  • Eat foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Omega-3 is also available in supplements.
  • If contact lenses are causing your dry red eyes, your doctor or optometrist might change the type of contacts you wear or if you suffer from severe dry eyes, you might have to stop wearing them altogether.
  • Artificial tears applied every few hours can bring relief. But this is only a temporary solution.
  • There is a prescription eye drop that increases the eye's natural ability to produce tears, but it does have side effects. Discuss it with your eye doctor.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when outside to protect your eyes from sun, wind and dust.
  • If you are considering Lasik surgery, reconsider if you suffer from dry eyes.
  • Punctal plugs are used in more serious cases of dry eye syndrome. A small silicone plug is inserted into the tear drainage hole called the punctum and reduces the amount of tears that drain out of the eye.

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