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The Dry Eye Syndrome

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Physiologically the surface of the eye is maintained constantly in a watery medium. When there is the inadequacy of tears it causes osmotic damage to the surface structures (cornea and conjunctiva) additionally causing symptoms.

What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

· Gritty sensation of eyes-esp. under windy conditions.

· Changing/ blurred vision and fatigue

· Redness

· Need to blink excessively or squeeze the eyes

What causes Dry Eyes?

The watery medium around the eyes is maintained by the balance between the production of tear fluid and its loss. In fact, the tear film around the eye is constituted of 3 major layers contributed by different tissues of production.

Lipid layer- produced by meibomian glands at the lid margin. This layer is very important to cut down the evaporation of the aqueous layer

Aqueous layer- produced by lacrimal glands (major and minor), acts as a bath for the living cells on the surface of the eye.

Mucin layer- produced by conjunctival cells (Goblet Cells), helps to maintain fluid and other chemicals around the cells.

The tear film is lost from evaporation, drainage through the nose into the throat and by spilling over the lower lids onto the cheeks.

The disturbance of this balance between production and loss of tears, due to a myriad of factors, causes dry eye syndrome.

What are the risk factors for Dry Eye Syndrome?

· Age-many secreting tissues become dysfunctional with age.

· Reduced blinking and Eyelid Disease -These lower lipid secretion and impair the spread of fluid. Prolonged computer use and long-distance driving are incriminated.

· Contact lens wear- damages mucin-secreting cells over time.

· Eye and skin diseases-damage mucin secreting cells. Sjogren’s Disease and other Autoimmune Diseases, Vitamin A deficiency, and Rosacea.

· Chemical damage to eyes- these may vary from Acid or Alkaline burns of the eyes to long terms use of Eye Drops with preservatives.

· Neurological Dysfunction- Cataract Surgery, LASIK and other surgical procedures on the eyes as well as systemic neurological diseases like Parkinsonism can cause dry eyes

What are the Complications of Dry Eyes?

· Reduced Quality of Life- Affects driving, reading, and computer use

· Infections – Infections of the Cornea can set in in dry eyes

· Visual Dysfunction- Prolong dryness can cause surface tissue damage, scarring, and blurred vision.

Can it be treated?

1/ Treating Underlying Diseases

2/ Medications

· Artificial Tear Drops and Gels

· Immune Suppressive Medication (e.g. steroids)

· Serum

3/Surgical Procedures

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