Why Are My Eyes Dry?

September 5, 2019

 Today about one third of the world population suffer from dry eye at one time or the other. As the dry eye ‘epidemic’ appears to expand the classic elderly female dry eye patients are no longer the only cases we see in our office chairs. The number of cases has rapidly increased mainly due to lifestyle changes, like the increased screen time activities on our digital devices with greater exposure to blue light ,as the world is advancing and getting digitalized our jobs force us to these activities to which we have no other option.  Diets which lack in omega3 fatty acid is another reason ,and  lets not forget our children who are now addicted to these devices. Other cause that are usually associated with dry eye are contact lens wear, laser, autoimmune disease like Sjogrens disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease, some medications also cause dry eye.

 The role of tissue and adnexal inflammation , leading to inflammatory cytokines in the tear film and ocular surface instability , has unfolded over the past decade. As tear film inflammation becomes better recognized we are starting to understand the importance of ‘tear quality over quantity’

Today in my clinic at AL HILAL Manama 30 percent of the patients are usually dry eye related. They often come with symptoms like burning sensation, heaviness of eyes , red eyes , blurred vision photophobia {painful light sensitivity}  and foreign body sensations. Here at AL HILAL we have simple techniques like schirmer tear strip test and tearfilm breakup time test by which we not only can diagnose but can also grade the severity of dry eye disease

Dry eye is a chronic and typically progressive condition. Depending on its cause and severity, it may not be completely curable, but in most cases dry eye can be managed successfully usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort.

The traditional understanding when it came to treatment was that dry eye implies that the eyes are not wet and adding tear volume should solve the problem and hence artificial tears were the mainstay of therapy for decades. Treatment solutions have now expanded to allow more options to the doctor and patient.  The addition of cyclosporine drops for dry eye over a decade was the impetus for understanding of the disease and gearing treatment options towards ocular surface inflammation. Further out of the box innovation, such as intranasal stimulator will give the patients the option to stimulate the production of a true multilayer tear and has been shown to improve the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. Saving tears –the tear ducts can be blocked with tiny silicone plugs this makes your natural tears stay in your eyes longer.

Symptoms and signs of dry eye can be reduced to a great extent by reducing screen time ,increased fluid intake, adequate sleep, blinking {blinking once in every 5 second} healthy diet, and by avoiding heat \pollution \irritants.

We need to push the research that helps our understanding of this disease and support the innovation of new products, especially in an age where visual demands increase in the workforce and society in general.