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Eye care tips for dry eye

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

To stay healthy and comfortable our eyes need tears. With each blink of eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eye smooth and clear.

Dry eye occurs when either the eye does not produce enough tears or drainage is not in balance or when the tears evaporate too quickly. It is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in adults. This can result from meibomian gland dysfunction, vitamin A deficiency, Sjogren's syndrome, contact lens use, LASIK surgery, and because of certain medications.

Dry Eye Symptoms

  • Stinging and Burning.

  • Blurred vision, especially when reading.

  • Redness of the eye.

  • Sensitivity to light.

  • Scratchy or gritty feeling in the eye.

  • Strings of mucus in or around eyes.

  • Eyelids sticking together when waking up.

  • Irritation especially when you are in the wind or near smoke.

  • Eyes continuously tearing.

  • Difficulty keeping the eye open.

Having a lot of tears in your eyes with a dry eye might sound odd. But your eyes make more tears when they are irritated by dry eyes.

How can we treat dry eyes?

Dry eyes are often managed, rather than cured. However, researchers have given us significant improvements. Importantly, these can make a big difference to our quality of life.

Self-care to prevent dry eyes

  • Blink more often.

  • Use high-quality sunglasses when outdoors during the day.

  • Reduce eye rubbing so that you don't create inflammation and dryness.

  • Don't overwear contact lenses.

  • Reduce cigarette smoking.

Diet and supplement for dry eye prevention

  • Water- keeping your hydration levels up can help improve the comfort of your eyes.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids.

  • Vitamin A-Vitamin A deficiency can increase dry eyes.

  • Eating healthy helps ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. To protect your vision, improve overall eye health and relieve your dry eyes symptoms, you may want to start adding vital nutrients to your diet.

Warm compresses

Warm compresses are when a washcloth, usually soaked with very warm tap water, is held against the eyelid margin for approximately 5-10 minutes two to three times a day for at least a week. The warmth of the compress allows the secretions in the Meibomian glands to loosen and may melt back to their normal consistency. These compresses also help to clean away debris.

Medications for dry eyes

  • Artificial tears- it is the most common medication to be prescribed in dry eyes. It helps the eye and treats irritation, dryness and inflammation.

  • Prescription eye drops- that contain immune-suppressing medication cyclosporine or corticosteroid can help relieve inflammation in the cornea. Unlike artificial tears, this medication requires a prescription.

It’s very important that patients with chronic dry eye seek out an ophthalmologist for treatment, and more specifically, it’s crucial to find an ophthalmologist with experience caring for dry eye. With the right ophthalmologist and the right treatment, you can find sustainable relief for your dry eyes and get back to living a full, healthy life.

The blog is written by the Ophthalmic Assistant Mr Abhishek and Moderated by Ophthalmologist Dr Anuradha Totey. Both are the part of Deesha Eye Banks.

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