A dry eye is a condition that occurs when the tears cannot provide adequate lubrication for the eyes. Tears are a combination of water, mucus and fatty oils which help in making the surface of the eyes become smooth and clear as well as helping in protecting the eyes from infections.
Dry eyes make a person uncomfortable since it causes a stinging and burning sensation. A person can experience dry eyes when riding on an airplane, inside an air-conditioned room, riding a bike and after looking at the screen of a computer for several hours.
- Redness of the eyes
- Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
- Difficulty driving during night time
- Eyes becomes watery which is the response of the body to the irritation
- Sensitivity to light
- A sensation that something is inside the eyes
- Fatigue of the eye or blurred vision
- A burning, scratchy and stinging sensation can be felt on the eyes
- A stringy mucus can be seen around the eyes
- Dry eyes can be caused by some medical conditions such as diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and vitamin A deficiency.
- Aging of a person
- The use of certain medications such as decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, birth control pills and drugs for Parkinson’s disease .
- Damage to the tear gland caused by inflammation or radiation
- Exposure to wind, smoke or dry air
- Problems of the eyelid such as out-turning of the lids or ectropion and in-turning of the lids or entropion
- Wash the eyelids frequently
- Apply a warm washcloth on the eyes. Simply use a moist clean cloth with warm water and hold it over the eyes at least 5 minutes. Soak the cloth when it becomes cool for another application. Gently rub the washcloth over the eyelids and also the base of the eyelashes in order to help eliminate any debris.
- Use a mild soap such as baby shampoo or other mild soap when washing the eyelids. Put the cleanser on the clean fingertip and use it to massage the closed eyes near the eyelashes and then rinse properly. Perform this procedure on a daily basis to lessen the symptoms of dry eyes.
- Use the prescribed artificial tears and lubricating eye drops and gels given by the doctor to provide moisture and lubricate the surface of the eye. These should be applied at least four times every day but it can also be used as often as possible.
- Apply a lubricating gel during night time especially when sleeping.
- If the eye becomes dry while watching TV or reading, the individual should take a break to rest and moisten the eyes.
Tips to bear in mind
- Add moisture to the air by installing a humidifier in order to add moisture to dry indoor air.
- Avoid direct hair dryers, heaters in vehicles, air blowing directly to the eyes and air conditioners aimed to the eyes.
- Use artificial tears on a regular basis.