Dry eyes refer to that condition where you do not have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of its front surface and for providing clear vision.
This condition a and it is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. This condition can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance.
Dry eye syndrome is the condition that results to dry eyes as the water layer of tears is inadequate. The condition is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS).
We have insight into this problem from the article including causes, symptoms, at menopause, during pregnancy, with a headache and treatments. I hope it will be useful.
Why are my eyes dry – causes
The common causes associated with this condition may include:
Exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dryness symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for long periods, can also contribute to this problem too.
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems are more likely to have this symptom. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause this condition to develop.
There are certain medicines such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce tear production hence they will dry.
Female are more susceptible due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives and menopause.
During the process of aging, dry eyes may result since it is a natural process. The majority of people over age 65 experience some symptoms of this condition.
Imbalance in tear composition
The tear film has three basic layers: oil, water, and mucus. Problems with any of these layers can cause dry eyes. For example, the oil film produced by small glands on the edge of your eyelids (meibomian glands) might become clogged.
Blocked meibomian glands are more common in people with inflammation along the edge of their eyelids (blepharitis), rosacea or other skin disorders.
Other causes include:
- Long-term use of contact lenses can be a factor in the development this problem. Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can decrease tear production and also is a contributing factor.
- Tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation
- Laser eye surgery is another trigger though symptoms related to this procedure are usually temporary
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms associated with dry eyes may include:
- A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation
- Stringy mucus in or around them
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness
- A sensation of having something inside them
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- A difficulty with nighttime driving
- Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation from excessive dryness
- Blurred vision and fatigue
Dry Eyes and mouth menopause
A dry mouth happens when the salivary glands failed to produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, or saliva is present but less effective at its job making even speaking, eating and swallowing difficult.
When women go through the menopause, they experience significant hormonal changes such as when the level of estrogen drops; this reduces moisture in the mucous membranes. This is why many women who experience a dry mouth can also experience dry eyes.
Also, salivary cortisol rises with decreasing level of estrogen resulting in dryness and a burning sensation in the mouth.
If your dry mouth has been caused by the menopause, then an herbal remedy such as Menosan Menopause Support may be effective. This tackles all stages of the menopause, as it contains soy isoflavones which naturally mimic the effect of estrogen in the body.
Dry eyes during pregnancy
Pregnancy commences with various changes in body ranging from the external point that is skin up to the internal point like hormonal changes. This is a common condition which usually emerges during the first trimester of pregnancy.
These usually continue throughout the pregnancy period and possibly for a few months after the baby’s birth. Also, other subtle eye changes can occur during pregnancy, causing irritation and sometimes difficulty wearing contact lenses.
Some of the common causes have been mentioned earlier, but the following are some of their highlights:
- Hormonal Changes
- Decreased Tear Production
- Oil Gland Production
- Increased Tears
Dry eyes and headache
Dry eyes symptoms associated with a headache is usually linked to those individuals who are experiencing migraines. Migraines are headaches of varying intensity. They’re generally accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound.
According to studies, this problem are known to cause a migraine to take on different qualities. For example, the migraine may last longer or involve symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensory sensitivity.
If you’re susceptible to migraines, they may be triggered by a structural difference in your eye. People who have migraines have a different ocular structure than people who don’t have migraines. The studies show that symptoms are prevalent in people with migraines.
In some instances, both the drying and headache can be caused by many different things such as certain prescription medications can cause both dry eyes and headaches.
This is a rare condition, but in case you experience them, it is recommended to seek proper medical care from a specialist.
Treatment – how to cure eye dryness
The treatments include:
Use of artificial tears
This type of medication is meant for those mild cases like computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes. Most of these artificial tears can be used without any prescription and are found over the counter.
This is an eye drop that does more function to the dry eyes apart from lubricating their surface. It contains an agent that reduces inflammation associated with keratoconjunctivitis sicca and helps your body produce more natural tears to keep them moist, comfortable and healthy.
It is aimed at reducing inflammation that is associated with the signs and symptoms of dry eyes. The most common side effects of Xiidra reported in the studies were eye irritation, altered taste sensation, and reduced visual acuity, which occurred in 5 to 25 percent of users.
Steroid Eye Drops
They are generally used short-term to quickly manage symptoms. They are often used in conjunction with artificial tears and Restasis, as a complement to these more long-term treatment strategies.
This type of treatment can increase the risk of developing high eye pressure or even cataracts if used for extended periods of time. But these risks are low when the drops are used only on a short-term basis treatment.
It is a sterile, slow-release lubricant that is placed under the lower part where the conjunctiva of the inside of the eyelid meets the conjunctiva of the eyeball.
For most individuals with dry eyes, a single Lacrisert is applied once a day. The device has been proven to relieve dryness, burning, watering, foreign body sensation, itching, light sensitivity and blurred vision, according to the company.
This form of treatment helps tears to remain on the surface of the eye longer. This treatment is done by inserting a small sterile device into one of the small openings (puncta) of tear drainage ducts that are located in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids.
After these openings have been plugged, tears can no longer drain away from through these ducts. In this way the tear film stays intact longer on the surface of the eye, relieving the dryness symptoms.
Nutritional Supplements and home remedies
These are mostly recommended by doctors as part of a holistic dry eye treatment plan. Studies have found that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can decrease resulting symptoms.
Other home remedies may include:
- Wear quality sunglasses
- Clean your eyelids
- Remove eye makeup thoroughly
- Take frequent breaks during computer use
- Blink more frequently