Dry eyes, also known as dry eye syndrome, is one of the common conditions faced by today's generation. It is a condition in which the eyes are unable to produce enough tears causing chronic lack of lubrication on the eye's surface. The condition results in irritation, inflammation, and scarring of the eyes. In medical terms, it is named as keratitis sicca, keratoconjunctivitis sicca and dysfunctional tear syndrome .
According to the Journal of Global Health, the prevalence of dry eye syndrome in people may range from 5% to 50% depending upon the area across the world. It is a kind of eye defect which can occur at any age (common in people above 65) and also in healthy people. Dry eye is mostly found in people who stay in an area where malnutrition is prevalent causing vitamin A deficiency .
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Tear film plays an important role in keeping the eyes moist, preventing dryness, and enabling a clear vision. When the tear film becomes unstable due to the insufficient amount of tears, it breaks down and causes several symptoms of dry eyes syndrome. The symptoms are as follows:
Tears are a mixture of water, mucus, and fatty oils. They are an important factor to maintain the lubrication of the eyes and keep it healthy. Tears wash away the germs or dust particles that could lead to an eye infection or other eye-related problems.
In some people, dry eye syndrome is caused due to a decrease in tear production while in others, increased tear evaporation and imbalance in the production of tears can be the leading cause of dry eyes.
Decreased tear production: This is a condition defined by the inability of the eyes to produce enough tears. The main causes are ageing, antidepressant drugs, diabetes, vitamin A deficiency, birth control drugs, laser eye surgery, tear gland inflammation, high blood pressure drugs and others .
Increased tear evaporation: This is a condition in which tear produced in the eyes evaporate too quickly, causing dry eyes . The main causes are dry air, smoke, minimal blinking of eyes during working on the computer for long or driving, wind, and other eyelid problems like lagophthalmos.
Imbalance in the production of tears: As aforementioned, tears are a complex mixture of water, mucus, and fatty oils and imbalance in any one of them can result in the dryness of eyes. Some of the causes are clogged meibomian glands (a gland that produces oil), rosacea, and other skin problems.Risk Factors Of Dry Eyes
The factors that contribute to the risk of getting dry eyes are as follows:
Dry eyes must be treated at an early stage otherwise it may lead to certain complications like
Dry eyes can be determined by several tests depending on the complication of the problem. The tests are as follows:
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The treatment of dry eyes depends on the severity of the condition.