Dry Eyes? There's a Prescription for That!

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It's Time to Take Action Against Dry Eyes

Updated For May , 2024

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition where your eyes stop producing enough tears to maintain the normal tear coat over your eyes. Prolonged Dry Eye Syndrome can cause cornea scarring, bacterial infections, and surface inflammation. It can cause extreme discomfort and damage the normal routine lives of the patients. Therefore, managing its symptoms is important for a normal lifestyle.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?

Most people experience three major symptoms: pain, redness, and burning. Your tears may get watery with stringy mucus. Eyes may get tired a lot faster than before, and you may face serious difficulty in reading digital content. In extreme cases, vision blurriness is common as well. Sometimes, it may feel as if there is grit inside the eye. Also, some people may feel that their eyes are heavier than normal.

Reasons for Dry Eye Syndrome

The most prominent reason is aging that reduces the function of the oil-producing glands in our eyes. Similarly, LASIK eye surgery and hormone replacement therapy can cause DES as well. Some people may take certain nasal decongestants, antidepressants, and birth control pills to increase dry eye syndrome. High smoking levels of alcohol intake can be an underlying factor as well. Some people fail to blink enough, which may cause issues as well.

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Treatment Options for Dry Eyes

Multiple treatment options other than eye drops exist as well:

  • Artificial Tears: These tears increase the moisture content of your eyes. Some people can use them regularly without any negative side effects as well.
  • Lacrimal Plugs: Your doctor may suggest these plugs to block your eyes’ drainage holes. The procedure is reversible and relatively plain less as well. This way, tear loss is reduced, and tears stay in your eyes for extended periods. In extreme cases, Lacrimal plugs may be suggested to ensure a permanent solution.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed to deal with Dry Eye Syndrome. Your doctor may suggest cyclosporine (Restasis) intake to increase tear production and lower cornea damage risk. Similarly, corticosteroid eye drops may be recommended in extreme cases of DES for a short time. In other cases, the patient may have to use pilocarpine and other cholinergic to increase tear production.
  • Surgery: Surgery is a last resort option for dry eye symptoms that do not improve with other treatment options. Here, the drainage holes at the inner eye corners are permanently plugged to prevent tear loss.

Home Remedies for Dry Eye

Apart from the formal treatment and care to manage dry eye syndrome, a patient can also use numerous home remedies to help manage DES symptoms. 

First, dietary changes can be very helpful. Try adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your regular diet. Otherwise, try to find some Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. This nutrient is extremely important for the right composition of tears. 

Similarly, if your environment is the main factor damaging your eyes, you may need to wear eye protection like wraparound sunglasses and other wearables. Avoid going into places with heavy smoke content or too much wind. Dry air inside your home can be another reason for severe dry eyes. Try using a humidifier to increase the air moisture and humidity and protect your eyes from DES.

What are the Diagnosis Methods of Dry Eye Syndrome?

There are multiple ways in which doctors can determine if a patient is suffering from dry eye syndrome.

First, the patient may need to take a comprehensive eye exam. This exam includes a complete history of your eye health and focuses on the diagnosis by the doctor regarding the cause of the dry eyes. 

Similarly, they may test the volume of tears in your eyes. It is called the Schirmer test, where a blotting strip of paper is placed under the eyelids. Then, in 5 minutes, the doctor checks the total amount of tears soaked on the strip. 

The same test can be performed in a different way called the phenol red thread test. Here, the thread is filled with pH-sensitive dye. The tears cause the color of the diet to change. After 15 seconds, the die color is checked to see how many tears were soaked on it.

Another test may be required to check for tear quality. In some cases, dry eye syndrome can be caused by improper tear composition. For example, excessive mucus or water in your eyes can be a major reason for tear quality deterioration. The test is performed using special eye drops that help to determine your eye’s condition. The staining pattern of the corneas is used to measure the time before the tears evaporate.

A patient may also be required to take the tear osmolarity test. Here, the composition of tear particles is examined in detail, including the water content and composition of the tears. Dry eyes can reduce the amount of water in your tear content and increase mucus.

Tear samples may also be taken to look for any other infections or diseases. For example, decreased lactoferrin or increased matrix metalloproteinase-9 can be serious indicators of dry eye syndrome and other eye-related issues