This is a very common condition, which occurs when people don’t have either enough tears, or the correct formulation of tears, to lubricate the eyes and keep them comfortable. Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process.
Excessive dry eyes may damage eye tissue, scar your cornea (the front covering of your eyes) and impair vision and make contact lens wear difficult.
Various systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren's Syndrome can cause dry eyes. Environmental conditions, some prescription and over the counter medications, and wearing contact lenses also contribute to dryness.
Symptoms may include irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes, a burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes and blurred vision. Symptoms are variable and the eyes may not actually feel 'dry'. Often, in fact, they are wet and watery.
Symptoms tend to be made worse by anything which dries out the eyes further such as windy weather, tobacco smoke, low humidity, air-conditioning and central heating.
Tasks in which one blinks less often also exacerbate the condition e.g. reading or looking at a computer screen or TV for long periods. This problem is an increasingly faced by IT professionals.
The first line of treatment is usually artificial tears. There are several good brands on the market. If your eyes are severely dry, a humidifier in rooms that you spend a lot of time may be helpful. There are now also prescription drops that can alleviate dry eyes. Our eye doctor will recommend the right drops that suit the need of your eye.
Shekar Eye Hospital can now place tiny collagen or silicone plugs in the drainage canals of your eyelids. These plugs prevent the tears from draining down and out of your eyes. Collagen plugs last about 2 weeks. Generally they are a good first step. If the patient notices improvement for a few days, then the symptoms return, permanent silicone plugs can be inserted. While these plugs are removable if necessary, they do not dissolve on their own and don't require replacing.
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