What Is Dry Eye Disease? Causes and Treatments
Dry eyes are an issue that some people are probably already fairly well-versed in. Still, there is a more serious variant of it, called dry eye disease wherein it becomes a significant problem that can actually threaten your eyes and your vision.
However, don’t feel like you’re alone in dealing with this condition. Many people suffer from it, and it’s one for which treatment is possible. Read on to find out what you can do.
What is dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease is a relatively common ailment that happens when your tears are no longer able to properly lubricate your eyes to the degree needed. There are many reasons this can occur (which we will discuss below), but what’s important to remember is that this weakened tear effect can actually lead to full-on inflammation and damage to your eye’s surface.
That’s not even considering the basic quality-of-life factor. Regardless, dry eyes simply feel uncomfortable, and you’ll almost certainly realize this is a problem when your eyes begin to sting or burn. Sometimes, dry eye issues are limited in scope to certain scenarios like while riding a bike or staring at a computer screen for too long.
Unfortunately, you’ll likely have to take some life-long measures to control these symptoms. With professionals like those at Clearview Vision Institute, though, this condition can be treated well such that it doesn’t severely impact your life.
Other symptoms to look for include stinging and burning sensations, sensitivity to light, mucus around your eyes, redness of your eyes, a general feeling of having something in your eyes, difficulty putting on your contact lenses, trouble with driving at night, blurred vision and tired eyes, or even overly watery eyes as your body tries to adapt and fix the issues.
There are several causes that can contribute to dry eyes and disrupt the normally healthy functioning of your tear film, which itself is made of fatty oils, mucus, and watery fluid. Some broad changes that can cause dysfunction in this area include hormone changes, autoimmune disease, allergic eye disease, or even just inflamed glands of the eyelid.
However, the core of many of these issues is simply decreased tear production. That is, you can’t create enough water to keep your eyes properly moisturized. This can happen due to the aging process, but can also involve some of the medical conditions we talked about above.
You may also find that some medications, like hormone therapy, or antihistamines and antidepressants can affect the degree to which your eyes can generate water. As well, if you’re not careful with your contact lenses, or if laser eye surgery doesn’t go right, there can be nerve damage, which causes desensitivity and a resulting lack of tear production.
Another possible cause is the opposite issue, where, instead, your tears are evaporating too quickly. This happens when the oil glands on the edges of your eyelids get clogged and are thus unable to stop the film on your eye from evaporating too quickly.
This can result from blinking less often, which often comes hand in hand with conditions like Parkinson’s disease, or even when you’re just staring at a computer for too long. Eye allergies, vitamin A deficiency, and preservatives in eye drops can similarly cause these types of issues.
Prevention and Treatment
Naturally, the best cure is to fix the problem before it gets out of control. There’s much you can do to ameliorate the symptoms of this disease, including avoiding air blowing in your eyes, or conversely, increasing the amount of moisture in your air.
You can also get UV protection for your eyes in the form of glasses and safety shields. As well, take breaks for your eyes during long tasks that require a lot of visual concentration. Try closing your eyes, or even just blinking repeatedly to spread the liquid all over your eyes in a comprehensive way.
Also, try to quit smoking if you can. Of course, there are a myriad of reasons to quit, but the health of your eyes is as good as any other.
However, let’s say you haven’t been able to catch the disease in its early stages. Then, it’s time to get diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam, including a test to properly mark how much tear volume you are actually producing.
If the cause is identified, then you can move on to treatments. For instance if you have eyelid inflammation, you might be prescribed drugs to reduce the swelling. If there’s swelling in the cornea, then eye drops to control inflammation might work too. If it’s severe enough, you can get eye inserts that work like a constant set of artificial tears, or even try tear-stimulating drugs and, at the more exotic end of the spectrum, eye drops made from your own blood.
You may require more intensive procedures, like full or partial closing of your tear ducts to prevent them from draining the liquid away too quickly. You might also be able to get special contact lenses suited for people with dry eyes. As well, you might find it useful to have light therapy or eye massage, a procedure proven to help people with more severe dry eye conditions.
The Final Word
Dry eye disease is definitely something that can be annoying to deal with. It can, to some degree, impact your living standards and your day-to-day life. Considering how short life is, it therefore makes perfect sense to want to live as happy and fulfilled as possible.
Thankfully, there are a myriad of treatments available to help you tackle this issue. If you are looking for ReLEX SMILE surgery in Toronto, or any other treatments that may be able to help your eye condition, then look no further than the Clearview Vision Institute. We can be reached at 647-493-6371 or via our convenient web portal here.