Currently, there is no permanent cure for dry eye syndrome. However, dry eye treatments can help you maintain moisture in the eyes, reduce symptoms and protect vision.
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition where the eyes cannot produce tears, eyelids become infected (Blepharitis), and oil glands clogged (MGD). Clogged oil glands can cause the eyes to feel irritated and result in blurry vision, foreign body sensation, red eyes, headaches, and even watery eyes. Currently, there is no permanent cure for dry eye. Still, there are several options to manage and reduce the symptoms to prevent cornea damage and improve the quality of your life.
Who is at risk for dry eyes?
Dry eye is more common in older adults. It affects roughly 5 million people aged 50 years and older in the United States. Of these, over 3.2 million are females, and 1.68 million are males.
However, it can occur at any age. There are nearly 16 million U.S. individuals who have dry eyes.
What causes dry eyes?
Factors that contribute to dry eye include tears evaporate too quickly, not producing enough tears, eyelid problems, the use of medications, and some environmental factors.
The most common dry eye treatment is to use eye drops or another medication to keep the eyes moist.
This article will discuss the causes and symptoms of dry eye disease and how people can manage medication and natural alternatives.
What is dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease, also known as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occurs when the eyes do not stay moist due to problems with the tears. Tear problems can result in the eyes becoming drier, leading to discomfort and problems with vision.
Dry eye is the result of the tear film not working correctly.
The tear film protects and lubricates the surface of the eye and is vital for good vision. It has three layers:
- Outer layer: This layer is oily, reduces tear evaporation, and helps spread the tear film across the eye’s surface.
- Middle layer: This watery layer is a significant constituent of tears. It helps wash away foreign objects such as grit.
- Inner layer: This sticky layer (Mucin) coats the cornea and helps spread the watery layer. It also helps keep the tear film stuck to the surface of the eye.
Blinking spreads tears across the eyes, which then drain into the nose. Several glands and systems are involved in keeping the tear film in its optimal state.
Dry eye disease occurs when the tear film is no longer in balance because the body does not produce enough tears or if one of the tear layers does not work or spread out properly.
Is there a permanent cure for dry eye disease?
Currently, there is no permanent cure for dry eye disease. However, several options can help you reduce symptoms and protect vision.
Dry eye treatments focus on removing or minimizing environmental triggers and maintaining an adequate and functional tear film on the eye’s surface.
If there is a simple underlying cause for your dry eyes, your eye doctor can treat and resolve the symptoms quickly. However, most chronic dry eye diseases are more complicated.
Symptoms of dry eyes
Symptoms of dry eye can include:
- a stinging or burning feeling in the eyes
- a sense of pressure in the eyes, or a feeling that something is in them
- blurred vision or sensitivity to light
- difficulty or discomfort when opening the eyes
Common causes of dry eye
Evaporative dry eyes – tears are of poor quality, not thick enough.
Menopause: Females are more likely to have dry eye disease because of hormonal changes affecting tear production.
Aging. Bodies tend to make fewer tears as they age, so dry eye disease is also more common in older adults.
Some other risk factors or common causes of dry eye disease may include:
- some skin conditions on or near the eyelids, e.g., excema
- deficiency in vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids
- LASIK eye surgery
- wearing contact lenses
- spending a long time looking at screens, as this can reduce blinking
- allergies that affect the eyes
- some long-term conditions, such as diabetes and Sjögren’s disease
- the gland (meibomian oil glands located on the eyelids) that produces the oily layer not operating properly
- environmental factors such as smoke, wind, or dry air
- some medications, including treatments for depression and high blood pressure
Dry eye diagnosis
A doctor can check for dry eye as part of a comprehensive eye exam which involves the doctor administering eye drops then checking eye health.
The exam could be one of the following:
- Slit-lamp test: The doctor will use a microscope plus fluorescent dye to see if the eyes produce enough tears.
- Schirmer’s test: The doctor will use a small piece of paper to measure the amount of tears.
- Tear breakup time: The doctor will use this test to check the viscosity of your tear, see how long the tear film remains after a person blinks.
Treatments for dry eyes
Some of the most common dry eye treatments are
- Artificial tear solutions: These are common eye drops people can buy over the counter without a prescription. These are the most common dry eye treatment, and doctors will usually recommend them first.
- Moisturizing gels or ointments: Instead of eye drops, a doctor may suggest over-the-counter gels or ointments help the eyes feel better. Gels are beneficial for people who have nighttime dry eyes.
- Prescription eye drops: In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe cyclosporine (Restasis, Cequa) or lifitegrast (Xiidra) eye drops to help reduce inflammation and increase tear production.
- Punctal plugs: These special plugs go in the openings of the tear ducts, which are called puncta. They can help relieve dry eyes by shoring up tears in the eye for longer.
- Surgery: In rare cases, a doctor may suggest surgery to tighten the lower eyelids and help the eyes retain tears.
- Changing medication: If a medication that a person is taking for another health condition is causing dry eye, a doctor may suggest changing to a different medication.
Home remedies for dry eye
You can help your dry eye relief by doing some of the following.
- soothing inflamed eyelids with warm compresses, eyelid massages, or eyelid cleaners
- getting enough sleep
- drinking plenty of water- eight glasses of water per day
- using a humidifier- especially in your bedroom at night
- avoiding smoke, wind, air conditioning, and dry environments.
- wearing wraparound sunglasses while outdoors
- reducing screen use, taking breaks, and blink frequently
- consuming more vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids through one’s diet or by taking supplements
How can TheraLife help?
TheraLIfe is an oral dry eye treatment that restores and revives your tear production. Theralite works when drops don’t.
Theralite has protocols for complete recovery for :
To learn more about how it works, click here
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