Dry eye syndrome develops if the tear glands could not produce enough tears or they evaporate rapidly. The eyes require tears to stay healthy and clean. Tears are produced by the glands behind the upper eyelid. In every blink, the tears are driven across the eye to keep it moist. The tears flow into small openings called as tear ducts in the interior corners of the eyelids to drain away.
Dry eye syndrome is common among the elderly and those who have certain conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis or diabetes.
Possible causes of dry eye syndrome
Remember that having dry eyes can be caused by various factors such as being outdoors, working in front of a computer or being tired. Other possible causes include:
- Using contact lenses for long periods
- Using certain medications such as antihistamines and some antidepressants
- Eye surgeries such as LASIK
What are the indications?
If the eyes are excessively dry, they become itchy, irritated and scratchy.
The doctor can tell if an individual has dry eye syndrome during a physical exam and asking about the symptoms. In some instances, there are special tests performed to check if the eyes are producing enough tears.
- Artificial tear drops or ointments are used to soothe dry eyes which are available over-the-counter.
- The individual should also blink more, especially if working in front of a computer for long hours.
- Try to minimize time spent in air-conditioned or heated rooms.
- Use sunglasses to shield the eyes from the sun and wind.
The treatment options that the doctor might try include:
- Prescription eyedrops or ointments such as cyclosporine. This is used daily for a long time, even for years.
- Tear duct plugs are small-sized plugs placed in the opening of the tear ducts. They work by preventing the drainage of the tears.