- By: Dr. Aditya Sharma
Defining Dry Eyes
When there is a constant lack of lubrication and moisture on the surface of our eyes and they do not produce an adequate amount of tears, it results in an eye condition commonly known as Dry Eyes.
You are more likely to experience dry eyes when you’re in an air-conditioned room or on an airplane, or if you are riding a bicycle or have been sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end.
What Causes Your Eyes to Dry Up?
Our tears consist of water, mucus and fatty oil. Together, these substances smoothens the surface of our eyes and protects them from getting infected. If there is a constant absence of lubrication and moisture on its surface, our eyes could dry out.
Below are some other factors that cause dry eyes -
1. Imbalance in the System of your Tear-Flow
2. Air Conditioner and Heaters
3. Natural Aging Process (Especially Menopause)
4. Diseases that have an Effect on the Production of Tears
5. Side Effects of Using Particular Drugs
6. Problems that Don’t Allow Your Eyelids to Close Normally
7. Contact Lenses
8. Consuming a Diet that is low in Vitamin A/ Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you find yourself experiencing the following symptoms, you must visit the doctor immediately.
1. Redness of the eye
2. Stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in the eyes
3. Sensitivity to light
4. Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
5. Difficulty with driving at night/ wearing contact lenses
6. Blurred vision or eye fatigue
7. Watery eyes
Complications that Arise Due to Dry Eyes
1. Eye Infection – If there is an inadequate production of tears, it could put you in the risk of having an eye infection.
2. Eye Damage - Dry eyes damage your eyes and if left untreated, it would cause inflammation, corneal surface wear and tear, corneal ulcer and vision problems.
3. Everyday Activities - It would be difficult for you to partake in your regular everyday activities if you have dry eyes.
1. Regular Eye Breaks - Remind yourself to take breaks while spending long hours in front of a digital screen or reading. You must close your eyes for a few minutes or blink continuously for a couple of seconds. This will help spread your tears evenly.
2. Protective Eyewear - Wear sunglasses or any other protective eyewear to prevent your eyes from drying up. You can further add safety shields on top and on the sides of your eyewear to prevent wind or dry air from entering.
3. Computer Screen Positioning – If the position of the computer screen is above eye level, you will be encouraged to open your eyes wider to view the screen. Hence, it is advisable to position it at a lower level because doing so will prevent you from opening your eyes wide and will slow down evaporation of tears.
4. Environment - The air in high altitudes, deserts and airplanes can be extremely dry. So when you are in such an environment, make sure you close your eyes for a few minutes to reduce evaporation of tears.
5. Avoid Smoke & Quit Smoking – If you smoke a lot, consult your doctor and adopt a quit-smoking strategy that will work best for you. And in case you do not smoke, stay away from people who do smoke because the smoke can worsen dry eyes symptoms.
6. Artificial Tears – Use eye drops to keep your eyes well-lubricated.
Our eyes will remain healthy if there is a sufficient and consistent layer of tears on its surface.
So if you have dry eyes, you must get them treated. Doing so will put you in a much better position and will also put you at ease.