Dry Eyes, commonly known, as Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a widespread condition that affects a large number of Americans. It is estimated that 11% of people between the ages of 30 and 60 are dealing with DES every day. The percentage of those affected increases to 15% over the age of 65. The overall cause of the problem stems from deficient tear film or a lack of tears in general. Years ago, Dry Eye Syndrome could not be completely reversed. However, modern day medicines and treatments can reduce the DES symptoms or even cure it completely.
DRY EYE SYMPTOMS
A proper understanding of DES begins with an overview of the symptoms. The majority of people affected by DES report general irritation and sometimes even pain. It is common for affected eyes to become extremely sensitive to light. Itching and redness also occur on a commonly basis. Some people have even reported feeling like an object was stuck in their eye, like a grain of salt or dust. At worst it can affect actual quality of vision.
CAUSES OF DRY EYE
The causes of Dry Eye Syndrome can vary immensely.
1- One of the major causes linked to DES is excessive and in-appropriate use of contact lenses.
2- Another reason is genetics and older age. The older a person gets, the more prone they are too a myriad of eye conditions including DES Women over 45 have been known to incur the disease at higher rates than males and it has recently been linked to being one of the various externalities of menopause.
3- Another female related cause is birth control. It has been reported that the hormones released by the pills cause DES
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Dry Eye Treatments:
Modern science has allowed doctors to treat the symptoms to a moderate extent.
Topical Dry Eye Treatments
· One of the most frequent methods of treatment is the use of artificial tear drops, which help lubricate the surface of the cornea and relief the symptoms of dryness. Some medicinal eye drops are known to cure Dry Eye completely, such as Rystasis by Allergan.
· Other methods include temporary and permanent punctual occlusion. Your eye doctor will insert a small plug in one or more puncta (the draining tear duct) to slow the drainage of tears from your eyes. By slowing the rate of tear drainage, more tears stay on your eyes, relieving dry eye symptoms. The procedure is simple and can be performed in-office in just a few minutes.
· Increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids is well known to reduce symptoms of dry eyes.
· Warm compresses or warm washcloth can help treat meibomian gland dysfunction, the oil producing glands in the eyelids may fail to secrete oil that prevent tears from evaporating, which could result in dry eye symptoms. Heat treatment is intended to loosen up the hardened oil that clogs the glands.
· Light Therapy (IPL): Intense Pulsed Light Laser Treatment can be used to unplug the oil glands lining the eyelid. The intense light serves as a healing warm compress, which will loosen up the hardened oil that clogs the glands. It is usually advised to have up to 3 treatments to see benefits.
· Probing or Oil Gland Therapy: This method uses a small pointy instrument that probes the oil glands, which opens it up and allows secretion of the natural oils in the lid.
· Cautery: is the permanent closure of the tear duct canals, which allows more tears to remain in the eye for longer periods.
It is advised to see an ophthalmologist to get your condition diagnosed. Not all treatments are suitable for all those who suffer from DES It is very important to diagnose the symptoms and causes of dry eyes before choosing a treatment method.