Eyes can be stressed, too, and suffer from discomfort. Dry eyes are caused by a lack of adequate tears. This can be due to a disturbance of tear production or an inadequate distribution of the fluids in the eye. In most cases, eyes feel dry because the precorneal tear film is too thin. People wearing contact lenses are particularly often affected. The problem can be remedies with eye drops which replenish the tear film, such as wetting solutions and artificial tear ointments. If possible, dry environments and things that irritate the eyes should be avoided.
Definition: Dry Eye (Sicca Syndrome)
The creation and distribution of tears in the eye is a sensitive system. Any disturbances can lead to a condition known as “dry eye syndrome”. Eyes become dry because the tear production is affected. The tear film is no longer intact, either because of a reduced tear volume or because the composition of the tear fluid has become imbalanced.
Various terms are used to describe this affliction and its causes. The most appropriate description, however, speaks of an “eye moisture disturbance”, describing a functional disorder.
Dry eyes also occur in the context of the “Sicca syndrome” (lat. sicca = dry), an autoimmune disease causing dry eyes amongst other things.
Various symptoms can occur with dry eyes. Dry eyes burn, they are reddened and sensitive. Itching, gritty or scratchy feelings, light sensitivity and tears are further complaints caused by a dry eye surface.
When the surface of the eye is no longer sufficiently lubricated, the clear covering of the eye (cornea) can become scratched. It is important to treat dry eyes early on, to avoid damage to the eye. Dry eyes are not always just an acute indisposition. Longer lasting dry eyes can lead to chronically irritated eyes.
Dry Eye Causes
Reduced blinking, long hours of using a computer, contact lenses, drugs - the causes of dry eyes can be manifold:
Rooms with dry air especially during the long winter heating period, but also drafts and smoke can dry out the eye surface.
Eyelid movement can be reduced when working long hours looking at a computer screen or when reading. Blinking less can cause the eye to produce fewer tears. This results in a decreased tear film, which does no longer lubricate the eye surface adequately. The eye becomes dry.
Contact lens wearers are also often suffering from dry eyes.
Several drugs can also cause dry eyes. Medications such as the contraceptive pill, anti-allergy medication, psychotropic drugs, sleeping pills and some blood pressure medications can trigger dry eyes with all its associated complaints.
Patients with certain internal diseases (such as diabetes, rheumatism or thyroid disease) can suffer from Sicca syndrome with dry eyes.
Women around the time of menopause are particularly prone to dry eyes, due to hormonal changes. The ongoing decrease of oestrogen causes a thinning of the mucosa in the eye, which hampers adequate lubrication of cornea and conjunctiva with tear fluid.
Replacement of Tear Fluid with Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
In some cases, the underlying causes of dry eyes cannot be removed or treated, for example if you have to take certain medications. If the eyes are too dry, the application of eye drops can replace the tear film and thus improve lubrication. This can alleviate irritating symptoms like dryness, itching, burning and tears.
Dry eyes are treated with eye drops, which coat the cornea and replace the natural tear fluid, for example eye drops with hyaluronic acid or artificial tears. With the help of these medical preparations, the protective tear film can be restored. More dry eye treatments
Eye drops with hyaluronic acid wet cornea and conjunctiva similar to the natural tears. As they are made from natural substances, they are tolerated well. Eye drops with hyaluronic acid
Other eye drops for dry eyes are so called artificial tears, which moisten the eye surface. Artificial tears replace the tear film and restore the fluid balance. Artificial tears
Please consult your ophthalmologist, before you treat dry eyes with eye drops. He will examine you to check for underlying causes which might be treatable. The ophthalmologist can decide which products are suitable for dry eyes and can choose a preparation suitable for your particular case. He can also advise you in the correct application of eye drops and provide you with all information material necessary. Also contact lens wearers should follow the ophthalmologist’s advice about suitable products.
Avoiding Dry Eyes
There are a number of things you can do to prevent or ease dry eye symptoms. Many factors contribute to a drying of cornea and conjunctiva. Whenever possible, avoid the know causes of dry eyes. Here are some useful hints how to avoid dry eyes.
To avoid dry eyes, ventilate smoke filled rooms and reduce exposure time to smoke.
To guard against dry eyes, use humidifiers in heated rooms or rooms with air conditioners. Ventilate rooms regularly.
Briefly interrupt reading or computer work at least every 10 minutes to blink your eyes and find a distant target to look at for a few seconds. This will wet the eye surface with tear fluid and relaxes the eye muscles.
A healthy lifestyle contributes to the prevention of dry eyes. To avoid dry eye complaints, exercise frequently outdoors, drink sufficient and live on a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
It is important for contact lens wearers to use well tolerated contact lenses and contact lens care solutions.
Never wear your contact lenses for an extended period when your eyes are already dry.
Should major irritations occur, consult an ophthalmologist immediately for adequate treatment.
Regular eye examinations are recommended, if you are suffering from any disease which might affect the eyes.