What Causes Dry Eyes?
This condition is primarily caused due to a decrease in the production of tears. Tears are made up of water, fatty oils, proteins and anti-bacterial substances. These fluids work together to keep the surface of the eyes clear and moist. A decrease in tear production is caused due to a variety of factors. Some of these factors include:
- Exposure to dry air and ultraviolet rays from the sun
- Exposure to environmental pollutants
- Dry weather conditions
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of blinking
- Prolonged use of contact lenses
- Too much stress on the eyes
- Medication such as antihistamines and antidepressants
- Constant itching in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye fatigue
- Mucus in and around the eyes
- Eye Fatigue
- Constant discomfort in the eyes
Tips to Prevent Dry Eyes:
- Protect the eyes from dust, wind, and heat. Wear proper eye gear before stepping out in such weather conditions.
- Drink sufficient water to stay hydrated at all times. Also, eat a healthy diet, especially foods containing vitamins A, C, and E.
- Get enough sleep and avoid stressing your eyes by staring at the television or computer screen. It is important to get at least 7 hours of sleep each day.
- Blink several times while watching television or working on the computer. Also, take breaks in between such activities as it will help relieve stress on the eyes.
- Use an air filter in the house to keep dust and other particulate matters away.
- If possible, use a humidifier as it will help maintain moisture levels in the air, thus avoiding dry eyes.
- In case you are experiencing dryness in the eyes, close them for 10 seconds to relieve fatigue.
Before starting treatment for dry eyes, the eye-care specialist will first diagnose the cause of the problem and then prescribe appropriate treatment, depending upon the cause. Artificial tear drops are amongst the most basic treatment for mild dryness. However, for severe and chronic conditions, the doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops like Restasis to relieve dryness and inflammation. Restasis is an immunosuppressive agent and works by increasing tear production in the eyes. However, these are prescription drops and should only be used after consulting an eye specialist.
The eyes are a very sensitive and delicate organ. Ignoring the symptoms or delaying treatment can lead to further complications. These simple self-care measures will help prevent dry eyes, but are not meant to substitute for the treatment prescribed by the doctor.