Dry eye syndrome medically termed keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a medical health condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when due to poor quality of tears eyes become dry. Tears play a very important role in maintaining the good health of the eyes. It acts as a lubricant to wash away foreign particles and contains essential nutrients that the eyes need on daily bases.
The most common reasons that cause dry eyes syndrome include aging, hormonal changes, certain medications, environmental conditions, and health problems that may cause dry eyes such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, etc.
keratoconjunctivitis sicca often causes discomfort in the eyes. Most patients suffering from keratoconjunctivitis sicca notice often irritation in the eyes, blurred vision, itching in the eyes, feeling of foreign particles stuck in eye, red eyes, sensitivity to light, etc.
The best treatment for keratoconjunctivitis sicca includes using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops that work as a lubricant to keep eyes wet, treating underline conditions that are causing dry eye syndrome, avoiding medications that may cause such problems, and adopting a healthy lifestyle to avoid future damage
What causes Dry Eyes?
Here are a few lists of the common reasons for dry eyes says, Ophthalmologist.
- Age: With age men and women either fail to produce enough tears or either the quality of the tears degrades causing dry eye problems.
- Gender: It is sad to say but women are more likely to develop dry eye problems than men Hormonal changes caused due to pregnancy or menopause may often cause such issues.
- Medications: There are certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants that may reduce tear production. In such cases using eye drops to lubricate the eyes is always the best option.
- Environmental factors: People who live in areas that are often dry, windy, or dusty have more chance of developing keratoconjunctivitis sicca because the climatic condition and surrounding environment make eyes dry quickly.
- Medical conditions: Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disorders are some of the common health problems that are directly linked to causing dry eye problems.
- Contact lenses: Using contact lenses for a long period of time, wearing expired contact lenses, the wrong pair, or from a poor-quality manufacturer may cause eyes to dry.
- Eye surgery: LASIK or cataract surgery, laser eye treatment, may cause temporary or permanent dry eyes.
- Eyelid problems: Eyelid problems such as blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction can cause dry eyes.
How to Diagnose Dry Eyes?
To get medical help and better treatment consult a good Ophthalmologist doctor nearby. You may undergo the following procedure to get a better diagnosis in order to get better treatment.
The first step includes Eye Examination.
Your doctor will examine your eyes to identify any damaged dry surface in the eye, cause for redness, irritation, or problem causing dry eyes. On the bases of the evaluation, the doctor may further suggest numerous tests that may include:
The Schirmer test is conducted in order to test the production of tears in the eyes under time moderation. This process may include placing a small strip of filter paper under the lower eyelid that will help gauge the number of tears produced in specific time intervals.
Tear breakup time (TBUT)
This test helps identify the time taken by a small amount of dye to break up on the surface of the eye. This will help to understand how quickly the tear evaporates in order to examine its quality.
This involves placing a small amount of dye on the surface of the eye to look for any damage to the cornea or other structures.
Meibomian gland evaluation
Examining oil glands in your eyelids to see their functioning.
A vision or stress test may be conducted in some cases. Apart from all the tests the Ophthalmologist doctor may also ask you about your medical condition history or may ask questions regarding daily medication intake to know if they are the root cause of the problem.
There are several ways to overcome dry eyes, including:
Most doctors prescribe using artificial tears drops. These drops work when tears fail to produce enough or the poor quality of tears leading dry eyes. Artificial tears are drops that work as add-on lubricants in order to keep eyes wet.
Prescription medications such as cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra) may be prescribed in order to faster the process of production of tears.
If a deficiency of oil in the eyelid is causing dry eyes, Applying warm compresses to the eyes is a better option to stimulate the production of oils in the eyelids
Use humidifiers to produce moisture in the air. Dry air may evaporate tears in the eyes and cause irritation in eyes.
Avoiding environmental factors
Avoiding exposure to dry, dusty, or windy environments can help to reduce dryness.
Taking breaks from screens
Bright light emitted from computers, mobile, tv, etc may increase eye stress levels. Hence taking frequent breaks is very important for people who work all the time in front of the screen.
Cleaning the eyelids and eyes by rinsing water is the best way to clean all the foreign particles out of the eyes while adding some extra liquid to your eyes.
For all those who face dry eye problems due to sitting long hours in front of the screen blinking eyes or eye exercise is always a better idea to spread tears in the eyes evenly.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated helps produce and maintain adequate tear production in the eyes.
Wear protective eyewear
Wear protective eyewear in an environment that is dry, windy, or sunny emitting UV rays to protect your eyes from dryness and irritation.
Follow a healthy diet
Food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts are some of the best ways to maintain eye health.
Avoid smoking, get better sleep, avoid digital gadgets, when possible, etc are some good tips that can help avoid unnecessary stress on the eyes.
These days unhealthy lifestyles, often use of gadgets that produce UV rays, stress, medical conditions and environmental issues are more likely to develop keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Consulting an Ophthalmologist nearby for diagnosis and treatment options for dry eye syndrome is always a better suggestion.