What is Dry Eye Syndrome and What Causes It?
Dry Eye Syndrome or simply ‘Dry Eyes’ is very common and often a chronic problem. It is a major reason for visits to the eye doctor.
To keep your eyes healthy, an adequate and consistent layer of tears on the surface of the eye is essential. Tears lubricate and wash away dust, debris and microorganisms.
Tears consist of 3 layers and each layer play an important role. Tear components are produced by different glands.
Oily/Lipid layer: Lubricates the eyelids & prevents evaporation of the water layer. It is produced by the Meibomian glands.
Water/Aqueous layer: Washes away debris and gives antibacterial function. It is produced by the lacrimal glands.
Mucous layer: Spreads the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. It is produced by goblet cells on the conjunctiva.
Causes of Dry eyes can be broadly categorized into:
Inadequate tear production
Also, if your Meibomian glands are blocked or inflamed, the condition disrupts the production of oily layer of the tears. Thus, causing tears to evaporate too quickly and dry eyes. This condition is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) or Meibomitis.
Dry eyes can cause inflammation and sometimes damage the surface of the eyes if left untreated.
Signs & Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Burning or stinging sensation
Scratchiness or grittiness
Sensitive to bright light
Crusting of the eyelids
Foreign body sensation
Risk Factors Associated with Dry Eyes
Aging. Dry eyes can occur at any age but is more common in those 50 years and older.
Environment. Air conditioning, ceiling fans, exposure to smoke, wind, heat and haze increases dry eyes risk.
Contact lens wear. Contact lenses evaporates tears from the eyes.
Computer use. When using computer, smart phones and other portable digital device, we tend to blink less, which leads to greater tear evaporation.
Medications. Certain medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants and birth control pills increase the risk of dry eye syndrome.
Menopause. Post-menopausal women have higher risk of dry eyes.
Medical Conditions. Certain medical conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren syndrome and Thyroid-associated disease may contribute to Dry Eyes.
Eyelid problems. Incomplete closure of eyelid when blinking and sleeping can cause dry eyes.
Post refractive surgery. LASIK and other post refractive surgery can sometimes cause dry eyes.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Your Eye doctor will ask you about your medical conditions, medications and any usage of contact lenses.
They will then examine the tear film through a special microscope called the slit lamp. They may also use eye drops with dye to identify any dry spots.
Tear production is tested using a strip of filter paper called Schirmer’s strip. It is inserted in the lower lid for about 5 minutes. This will determine whether your tear glands are producing enough tears to maintain eye moisture.
SPK or corneal staining is a clinical sign of moderate to severe dryness.
In most cases, the use of artificial tears and minor behavioural and environmental modifications can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms. Frequent breaks between computers or electronic gadgets and air-humidifier amongst others greatly help.
Warm compress over the eyelid also helps to regulate the tears production.
If artificial tears do not relieve the symptoms, your Eye doctor may recommend other forms of treatment.
In severe and persistent dry eye symptoms, your Eye doctor may suggest a permanent closure of the tear ducts, also known as punctal occlusion.
If your dry eyes are due to eyelid problems, the Eye Doctor may recommend other kinds of surgery.
Blink more often when reading and using the computer
Wear sunglasses when outdoor to reduce exposure to dust, wind and sun
Eat foods that are high in fatty acids
Reduce contact lens wear
Remove eye makeup thoroughly and clean your eyelids
HOW TO GET TO ARA DAMANSARA MEDICAL CENTRE (ADMC)
The Hospital is located along the route to Skypark Subang Terminal and in the vicinity of the upscale residential neighborhood of Ara Damansara and Saujana.
Contact our team to book an appointment today!
Ara Damansara Medical Centre
Ophthalmology Clinic, Level 2,
Lot 2, Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang, Seksyen U2,
40150 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
T: +603 5639 1212