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Bothered by Dry Eyes? The Latest Care and Treatment

by Michael J. Butler  -  January 23rd, 2017

The subject of the condition of Dry Eyes is known by many, as sufferers but they and indeed, many others may not know many of the details of the condition, the effects and indeed, the latest treatments available. In the following text, we detail many of the aspects of the condition known as, Dry Eyes. From just what the condition is, the symptoms and the associated effects, the items of risk and associated difficulties, the procedures and tests for a proper diagnosis by a Doctor and finally, the treatments that are available.

What is Dry Eyes?

by Michael J. Butler
by Michael J. Butler
The condition of Dry Eyes is essentially caused by a lack of tears. Did you know, that your tears comprise a rather complex mixture of water, fatty oils and mucus and that this mixture assists in making the surface of your eyes smooth and clear and, more, assists in protecting your eyes from infection.

For many people, the reason for dry eyes is the reduction of tear production and for others it’s due to an increase of tear evaporation and an imbalance in the content of the tears.

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Symptoms

Things to look out for, which usually affect both eyes, might include:

• Blurred vision or eye fatigue

• A real sensation of having something in your eyes

• Being sensitive to light

• Redness of the eyes

• A stinging, scratchy or even a burning sensation in your eyes

• A stringy mucus around or in your eyes

• Having difficulty wearing contact lenses

• Having difficulty with night-time driving

• Watery eyes, a natural body response to irritation.

Reduced Tear Production

Dry eyes can often crop up when your body is unable to produce enough tears and typical causes for this reduction of tear production include:

• Aging

• Damage to the Tear gland for example, radiation or inflammation

• Laser eye surgery (usually temporary)

• Medications, including antihistamine, hormone replacement therapy, decongestants and drugs for Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), acne and birth control.

• Medical condition, such as thyroid disorders, scleroderma, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, Sjogrens’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and a vitamin A deficiency.

Elevated Tear Evaporation

Everyday causes of elevated tear production are:

• Eyelid problems. This includes problem such as in-turning of the eyelids (entropion) and out-turning of the eyelids (ectropion)

• Wind, dry air or smoke

• Reduction in blinking. This usually happens when a person is concentrating say, when driving, reading or when busy at a computer.

Disparity in the Tear Formulation

As previously alluded to, our tears are comprised of a complex mixture of water, fatty oils and mucus and, complications with any of these ingredients can lead to dry eyes. To illustrate, this might occur if the oil film manufactured by the little glands on the edge of the eyelids (Meibomian) became blocked. Although, blocked Meibomian glands are rather more prevalent in people that have an inflammation along the edge of their eyelids (blepharitis), rosacea or indeed, one of several other skin complaints.

Items of Risk

You are more at risk of experiencing dry eyes, if you:

• Are a woman. Lacking tears is rather more prevalent in women, more so if they are going through hormonal changes because of pregnancy, using birth control pills or due to the menopause

• Are older than 50 since production of tears reduces as we get older

• Eat a diet low in Vitamin A, found in fish, liver, broccoli and carrots and/or are low in omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, vegetable oils and fish

• Wear contact lenses.

Difficulties

People with dry eyes might encounter these difficulties:

• Infection of the eyes. Our tears the surface of our eyes from infection. There is, therefore, an increased risk of getting an eye infection.

• Surface damage to the eyes. Severe dry eyes might lead to an inflammation of the eyes, possibly resulting to abrasion of the corneal surface, a corneal ulcer and problems with vision.

• Quality of life reduction. Everyday activities can be very tough for such things as reading, handling food and cooking.

Procedures, Tests and Diagnosis

Tests and procedures will be carried out to determine the cause of your dry eyes and may include:

• An extensive eye examination. This will include a complete history of your overall health and your eye health which should enable your doctor to diagnose the reason(s) for your dry eyes.

• A measurement as to the volume of your tears. Your doctor may measure the amount of your tear production by using the Schirmer test. Here, strips of blotting paper are placed under your lower eyelids and, after a pre-determined short time, your doctor checks the extent of strip that was made sodden by your tears.

• Ascertaining the condition of your tears. Here, tests using specialized dyes contained in eyedrops are used to determine the surface condition of your eyes. Your doctor checks for the staining patterns on the corneas and further, measures just how long it takes for your tears to evaporate.

What About Medications?

Medications are available for treating Dry Eyes, and include:

Drugs to curtail eyelid inflammation. Inflammation along the edge of your eyelids can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may well recommend antibiotics to reduce the inflammation. Antibiotics for dry eyes are generally taken by mouth, though there are some available as eyedrops or ointments.

Eyedrops to control cornea inflammation. Inflammation on the surface of your eyes (cornea) may well be ably controlled with prescription eyedrops that contain the immune-suppressing medication cyclosporine (Restasis) or corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are not ideal for long-term use due to possible side effects.

Eye inserts that work just like artificial tears. If you have moderate to severe dry eye symptoms and artificial tears don't help you, another option may be a tiny eye insert that looks just like a clear grain of rice. Just once a day, you place the hydroxypropyl cellulose (Lacrisert) insert between your lower eyelid and your eyeball. The insert dissolves slowly, releasing a substance that's used in eyedrops to lubricate your eye.

Tear-stimulating drugs. Drugs called cholinergics (pilocarpine, cevimeline) help to increase tear production. These drugs are available as gel, pills or eyedrops. Possible side effects do include sweating.

Eyedrops made from your own blood are called autologous blood serum drops. This might be an option if you have severe dry eye symptoms that have not responded to any other treatment. To manufacture these eyedrops, a sample of your blood is processed where the red blood cells are removed and the remaining fluid is then mixed with a salt solution.

A new and exciting product has entered the Over the Counter (OTC) market, that is set to revolutionise eye care and eye care comfort. Hylo Eye Care eye drops can offer immediate comfort by improving the lubrication of the surface of the eye for your dry eyes and following eye surgery, for a long time. This treatment contains the sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid and is most effective in offering great relief!

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After his flying career ended after being shot down in the first Gulf War, Michael J. Butler turned to his second passion, which is Health and Fitness where he set up his own Research Company, as research scientists, doing research into health matters and writing about them.

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