What Is Dry Eye?

Blepaharitis | JacksonEyeAnother eye condition that can affect us is called dry eye syndrome. What is dry eye? For those who haven’t got a clue on this term, dry eye is a type of eye disorder where there are inadequate tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Most individuals complaining of dry eye symptoms don’t have enough tear production, or have poor quality of tears. They may be also be experiencing the aging process.

Causes of the Dry Eye problem

  • Age – the most affected individuals are those who are 65 years old and above.
  • Gender – based on medical surveys, women are more prone to the symptoms of dry eye due to hormonal changes during pregnancies, oral contraceptive usage and/or menopause.
  • Prescribed or OTC (over the counter) medicines – some medicines can affect the amount of tears being produced by our eyes. These medications include antihistamines, blood pressure medicines such as diuretics, decongestants and/or anti-depression medicines, and even anti-spasmodic medications that alter bladder and bowel movements.
  • Heath background – Diabetes and Thyroid patients are the most common systemic ailments that cause dry eye, followed by other autoimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Sarcoidosis, and Crohn’s Disease.
  • Environmental factors – excessive exposure to dry or windy weather, smokey environments (second-hand smoke or as a primary smoker) and long periods of time viewing the PC screen or laptop (aka Computer Vision Syndrome) could also dry the eyes.
  • Ocular causes – long term usage of contact lenses, eye refractive surgeries like the Lasik procedure could reduce the tear production. Posterior blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction can cause evaporative dry eye problems.

How to detect dry eyes?

Complete eye examinations are given to patients by certified dry eye specialists. A series of testing procedures are conducted to evaluate the quantity and quality of tears produced by the patient. The following steps are commonly included:

  • A patient’s history is taken, identifying current health condition, medications being taken as well as the environmental factors that may aggravate the dry eye problem.
  • The specialist will evaluate the eye lid structure and blink dynamics of the patient.
  • The specialist may use a slit lamp magnification and fluorescein and lissamine staining of the anterior ocular structures to assess the eyelids and cornea.
  • The physician will measure the quantity and quality of tears produced by the patient. Any sign of abnormalities become noted, as they are easily found with newer diagnostic tests such as tear osmolarity and a lipiview analysis of the different layers of the tear film.

The overall results from the comprehensive testing will give the eye specialist an accurate diagnosis.

If you have acquired a dry eye problem, there is help! Chronic dry eye disorders, and other dry eye symptoms may have a variety of treatments and cures available.

Don’t let any eye discomfort ruin your lifestyle or prevent you from doing the things you love to do most, consult an eye specialist to get the best eye treatment and live a normal life.