What is the Cause of Dry Eyes?
As mentioned earlier, dry eye emanates from a number of factors such as the use of contact lens, allergies, gland dysfunction, pregnancy, vitamin A deficiency, Sjogren’s syndrome, LASIK surgery, as well as certain medications — e.g. antihistamines hormone replacement therapy, certain blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Also, chronic conjunctivitis from habits such as tobacco exposure can promote dry eye. Mostly, the diagnosis of the condition is based on the symptoms, but other tests may be involved to diagnose the condition. Details of some of the causes are explained below:
Recently, a study made an interesting revelation about the relationship between migraines and dry eyes. The study made comparison between those who suffer migraines and those who don’t; the outcome of the study revealed higher prevalence of dry eye syndrome among migraine sufferers compared to people without migraine or headaches. Consequently, the researchers are of the opinion that migraines may get worse when an individual has dry eye symptoms.
Again, another recent study focused on office work and speculated that majority of the headache complaints are resulting from dry eyes --- but, it is uncertain whether or not one causes the other, or whether the use of computer for longer hours is the contributing factor to both dry eyes and headaches.
Also, environmental factors can promote dry eye syndrome. Other common causes include pollen, dry air or cigarette smoke. Avoiding the avoidable environmental factors can help reduce the risk of the condition.
Blepharitis is another prevalent cause of dry eyes syndrome that we’re noticing increasingly. This condition is an inflammation of the lid glands that promote and produce oil in an individual’s tear film. With the passage of time, these glands lining, the lids may becoming clogged, causing the oils in an individual’s tear film to stop flowing atop of the tear film to provide protection.
Individuals who suffer from blepharitis produce tears but the tears evaporate too swiftly. Therefore, in-between blinks, it’s either the tear film is breaking down or drying up. That leads to redness as well as other symptoms/classic signs of dry eye syndrome. This is what is known as evaporative dry eye. According to some experts, staring at a computer screen for prolonged years makes chronic blepharitis more prevalent.
BlephEx is a great tool to remove scales and debris found in moderate to severe blepharitis. BlephEx™ is a very useful addition to the lid hygiene / dry eye armamentarium. The device effectively clears debris from the lashes and lid margins.
These systemic diseases include Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis – these symptoms are commonly treated by rheumatologists and can lead to dry eyes. In addition, Glaucoma cases that require medication as well as diabetics are more prone to dry eye condition.
Hormonal changes can also result in dry eyes --- particularly among women from age 50 and above, including aging men --- these are all more susceptible to dry eyes syndrome.
Recommended Treatments for Dry Eye?
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Dry Eye
There are a number of treatment methods for dry eye. First, experts recommend prevention of the symptoms. Make sure you blink often and drink often. Do not meddle with eye irritants. And, you should apply lubricating eye drops if you are medicating on drugs that increase the risk of dry eyes.
You can easily find over-the-counter eye drops for managing dry eye. Keep up a healthy lifestyle, with emphasis on Omega 3 and other rich vitamins.
- First, we recommend a simple remedy as one of the common treatments of the condition --- Keep BLINKING as many times as possible. By blinking fully and hard with your eyes firmly closed, you will increase your chances of restoring the tear film.
- If you use the computer heavily, ensure you always observe the 20-20-20 rule for vision. Basically, it means that every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds. alternatively, close your eyes or look down every few 20 minutes or slightly less --- this will help provide relief for your eyes.
- If you are using medications that cause dry eye syndrome, such as beta blockers or antihistamines, ensure you use over-the-counter teardrops to combat dry eye.
Restasis is a common dry eye treatment we prescribe for patients --- the most common prescription for dry eye. Patients use the eye-drop two times daily. This teardrop is a form of cyclosporine --- a medication prescribed to a number of chronic conditions, which is found to relieve dry eyes symptoms as well.
However, Restasis has a downside; it results in burning of the eyes when a patient starts taking it, but it isn’t like this for all patients --- and it takes as long as three to six months to really penetrate into the body. As a result, usually when we prescribe this dry eye medication, we at the same time prescribe a steroid to lower inflammation and prevent the initial itchy and burning eyes side effects.
This tear drops appears to boost the amount of the watery part of the patient’s tears; however, it does not really aid improvement of the oil outflow --- the oil that has to be produced right on top of the tears to avoid its evaporation. A number of studies at the moment are pointing that more than 50 percent of individuals who suffer dry eyes suffer meibomian gland dysfunction.
Therefore, if the initial lines of treatments are not able to manage your dry eye symptoms, you should seek more rigorous treatments for your dry eye condition as well as blepharitis.
Some treatments are targeted at blepharitis and one of the commonly recommended methods in our office is combining warm compress with massage. For the best possible relief for dry eye symptoms, the patient should apply hot water compress as many times as possible a day.
The moist eye treatment gets more convenient with Blephex. It is an effective device for cleaning the lids and worth using in those who have accumulation of collarettes and debris.
In our office, we also often prescribe a medication known as AzaSite. The medication is an eyedrop form of Azithromycin. The patient uses it twice daily for 2 days ---then it will be used once daily for the rest of the month. That is a prescription dry eye treatment that appears to be quite effective; however, just like hot compresses, the patient’s compliance is important for successful outcome.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved something known as LipiFlow, which is a new device. It was just introduced recently and it’s our pleasure to be among the few practices offering this innovative technology in West Orange, NJ.
We carry out the procedure for attaching the device to a patient’s eyelid right here in our office. The product purifies the eye of all the clogged oils as it heats up the glands to unclog the oil.
In the course of the initial session of our eyecare radio program, Jenny expressed complete satisfaction with the LipiFlow procedure recommended. Here are her exact words, “LipiFlow doesn’t cause any form of discomfort. It lasts only for approximately 12 minutes and the result appears to be instant.” After suffering dry eye syndrome for a number of years, Jenny pointed out that “while a number of physicians haven’t heard about it, LipiFlow is best described as a wonder.” See our LipiFlow page to learn more about this device and the procedure for its attachment – visit our West orange, NJ office today.