The eye is arguably the most sensitive organ in the human body, and its vulnerabilities make it susceptible to all kinds of conditions. Dry eye syndrome is one disease that, while not fatal, can cause great discomfort for sufferers that can last for years. Read on for a more in-depth look at the ailment.
It is usually difficult to pin down an exact cause of dry eye syndrome, but scientists have uncovered a number of factors that contribute towards the development of the condition.
These include environmental influences such as hot and windy weather, hormonal changes, side effects from various medicines and generally being ill. Age can also play a major part, with up to one-third of people aged 65 and above thought to have the disease.
The actual condition is triggered when, for whatever reason, the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears produced evaporate too quickly due to blocked or abnormal oil glands.
Usually, sufferers will experience the former, which is when the aqueous tear layer is damaged and the lacrimal gland does not release sufficient tears to keep the conjunctiva and corner covered. With the second kind, tears are lost too rapidly and this also leaves sensitive parts of the eye exposed.
Depending on the severity of your dry eye syndrome, your symptoms will vary. Some of them might be quite mild, but still irritating, while others will be more disruptive of your everyday life.
Among the most common warning signs are dry or sore eyes, a burning sensation, the feeling that you’ve got something in your eye and blurred vision. If you have any of these symptoms and they persist, you must see a medical professional as soon as possible.
Your GP will be able to tell you whether you have it or not, and will most likely ask for details of your medical history to support their diagnosis. To determine the root of the condition and see if your symptoms match up, he or she may also ask you what problems you have been experiencing, what your social circumstances are and whether you are on any medication.
Dry eye syndrome is one of those tricky conditions that is impossible to permanently cure, and many sufferers could end up stuck with it for the rest of their lives. However, there are a number of ways you can lessen the symptoms and make life more comfortable.
Eye drops containing ‘tear substitutes’ that mimic the properties of tears can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy and these are usually pretty good at stopping your eyes from drying out quite so much.
It is possible to buy preservative-free drops that stop tears from evaporating, which are ideal for people with severe symptoms who need to use drops more than six times a day.
You could also invest in vitamins and supplements that help to improve the overall health of your eye, warding off and slowing down the symptoms of conditions like dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration. Click here to find out more about products like these.