Dry eye syndrome is extremely common across the globe. A person suffering from it might experience a burning sensation, heavy eyes, sore eyes, photophobia, even blurred vision. Common symptoms also include eye irritation, inflammation, and even scarring. Dry eye syndrome becomes more common with age, and it is more prevalent in females than in males. The following article lists possible causes of dry eyes and how to treat it.
It is one of the primary reasons for dry eye syndrome. People over the age of 50 may experience a reduction in lubrication in their eyes as tear production declines with age.
- Excess computer use
People working on computers for long hours tend to blink less. This can result in lesser production of tears, thereby causing dry eyes.
Medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics, and beta-blockers that are typically used to treat hypertension can also inhibit mucus, oil, and water production in the body. This can also lead to dry eye syndrome.
Women usually attain menopause around or after the age of 55. As menstruation stops permanently, their body goes through several hormonal changes, which tend to affect tear production. This eventually leads to dry eyes. Apart from menopause, women might also experience the condition during pregnancy or while using birth control pills, as these too interfere with hormone production in the body.
- Contact lenses
Contact lenses may help in improving one’s vision but long-term use of the same may cause dry eye syndrome as they obstruct the supply of oxygen to the cornea.
- Environmental factors
Low humidity and pollution can also cause dry eyes as both these environmental factors can strip moisture from the eyes.
It is a syndrome that causes inflammation in the inner eyelids. The oil glands under the inner lids also get clogged, which can result in dry eyes.
- Autoimmune diseases
Diseases like arthritis, lupus, diabetes, and Sjogren’s syndrome may cause insufficient and poor tear production which can also cause dry eyes.
- Punctal plugs
These are small, sterile devices that are inserted in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids. Punctal plugs help in retaining tears on the eye’s surface, thereby preventing dry eye syndrome.
- Warm compress
This is one of the easiest procedures to treat dry eyes. Applying a warm compress to the eyes can unclog the meibomian glands (tear glands).
- Eye drops
Prescription as well as OTC (over the counter) eye drops can also help treat dry eyes syndrome. Various eye drops are available for different causes of dry eyes. Some help in reducing inflammation in the eyes, whereas others help retain moisture and oiliness in the tear ducts.
- Intense pulse light
This is an FDA-approved treatment for ocular rosacea, which is a condition characterized by dilated blood vessels caused by blepharitis. The IPL (Intense pulse light) device flashes wavelength-filtered bright light, which is absorbed by the blood vessels. This improves the inflammation, thereby reducing symptoms of dry eyes.