What are Dry Eyes?
Dry eye is multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular surface. Dry eye is a chronic progressive condition, if it is left untreated will become worse over time leading to further lacrimal and Meibomian gland dysfunction. Dry eye symptoms include discomfort, irritation, decreased in clarity of vision. It is accompanied by inflammation of the ocular surface.
Environmental factors can play a role in increasing the rate and severity of dry eye, these include lower relative humidity, modern air conditioned office and use of computers. With computer use some people have a reduced blink rate which causes the eyes to dry. Other factors that can contribute to dry eyes include Sjogren's syndrome, lid congruity, Meibomian lipid deficiency, blinking insufficiency, drug preservatives, contact lens wear, Vitamin A deficiency and allergic eye disease.
Dry eye is usually divided into that which is caused by excessive evaporation and that which results from lack of aqueous in the tear film.
Dry eye treatments by Optometrists will depend on the cause and severity of the dry eyes. Ocular lubricants remain the most widely recommended treatment for managing dry eye symptoms. For overnight use ointment work better. Environmental modification such as adjusting humidity levels will also help. If inflammation is present topical steroids and nutritional supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids are recommended. In more severe cases punctual plugs, topical Vitamin A and moisture goggles can be used. If there is any Meibomian gland dysfunction warm compresses and lid massage are useful. If there is any blepharitis present lid hygiene with antibacterial therapy is recommended.
Author: John Haddo
Optometrist at 1001 Optical