Do you feel that your eyes are dry and itchy after staring at computer or reading a book?
This occurs when the eyes don't create enough tears, or if the tears are low in quality.
Normally, outer part of the eye is lubricated by so-called basal tears. With each blink, tear flow circulates across the cornea, providing protection and nourishing eye cells.
The tear film contains three layers. The outer part is an oily layer, made by Meibomian glands. It is designed to prevent excessive evaporation of the tears.
The middle layer is a combination of water and water-soluble proteins. Lacrimal glands produce these components to cleanse the eyes and nourish them.
The inner region is a mucus layer, which helps tears to stick to the eye and keep the eyes wet.
If errors happen in production or composition of the tears, you may suffer from burning, itching and redness of the eyes, accompanied by blurry vision and hypersensitivity to light. It may become extremely difficult to wear contact lenses or drive a car in the nighttime.
This condition, known as dry eye syndrome, may be caused by insufficient production of tears, medically called keratoconjunctivitis sicca. It may occur as a result of numerous health issues like diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and vitamin A deficiency.
It's also possible that reduced generation of tears is a side effect of certain medications, such as hormone replacement therapy, antihistamines, medicines for high blood pressure and antidepressants.
Sometimes tears may be evaporated too intensively. That's a common problem for those, who have eyelid disorders (ectropion, entropion).
When you read an interesting book or work at computer, you’re so focused that you may blink less often that increases evaporation. The same trouble occurs in the windy, dry environment and smoke.
It's not uncommon that eyes become dry because of changes in tear composition. For example, blockage of the meibomian glands, associated with blepharitis and rosacea, may cause imbalance of tear components.
How can you relieve discomfort from dry eyes? Try these useful methods to get rid of this disorder effectively:
#1. Over-the-counter eye drops – today a variety of artificial tears are available in drops, gels and ointments. If you use drops more than four time a day, you'd better pick preservative-free drops to avoid irritation.
#2. Avoid smoking – add one more “pro” to quit smoking. Try to avoid being in smoky places to prevent appearance of uncomfortable symptoms.
#3. Anti-inflammatory medications – your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics to calm inflammatory process in the eyelids. If inflammation develops on the cornea, immune-suppressing cyclosporine eye drops or corticosteroids may be recommended.
#4. Eye inserts – in moderate or severe cases tiny inserts of hydroxypropyl cellulose are put between the lower eyelid and eyeballs. They release special chemical to lubricate the eyes appropriately for the whole day.
#5. Tear stimulators – some medications like pilocarpine and cevimeline can raise tear secretion.
#6. Punctal plugs – silicone or collagen plugs are inserted by eye care specialist to close the tear ducts and decrease tear loss. This procedure can provide temporary effect. If you want to plug the ducts for the whole life, ask your doctor about thermal cautery.
#7. Thermal pulsation – in this technique, special device is placed over the eye for less than 15 minutes in order to unblock oil glands and to improve tear production.
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