There are a variety of eye diseases. Known ones are cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Diabetic Retinopathy, Dry Eye, Keratitis, etc. In this article, we will explain about dry eye which is now increasing due to the variety of trends such as aging, excess use of air conditioner, computer, smartphone, or long time use of contact lenses.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn't have enough amount of tears to lubricate and nourish the eye and sometimes hurt the surface of eyes. Tears cover the surface of the eyes and work as a barrier to protect them. There are a variety of elements to cause dry eye, but in most cases, excess use of computer, smartphone, contact lens, and air conditioner would lead the evaporation of tears and damage the surface cells of the eyes. Also “blinking” works as stimulating the tear secretion and balancing the amount of moisture on the eye surfaces.
Symptoms of dry eye
Patients of dry eye suffer from not only the typical symptoms of dry eye, but also from a variety of symptoms such as the following.
・Easily get tired?
If so, this might be a symptom of dry eye. Dry eye is a condition in which the amount of tear decreases and loses the balance of nourishing quality to protect the eyes. Instead of underestimating “you were just tired,” you might want to get it correctly diagnosed by your eye doctor.
・Feel your eyes dry?
If you feel your eyes dry when working on your computer, smartphone, TV game device, or just any fine operations, your eye surface may be dried up due to the lack of blinking which promotes tear secretion.
When you leave them dried, they are more likely to be scratched, and corneal and conjunctival health could also be endangered. Most severe cases of dry eye can be complicating “Sjögren's syndrome,” often observed in the middle-aged women. Talk to your ophthalmologist without underestimating the condition.
・See things blurry
Even if you have good eyesight, some of the dry eye patients claim that the appearance of seeing objects get affected such as being blurry. This is a phenomenon results in unbalanced tear secretion caused by a variety of factors and makes your vision not clear enough as your eyes are inadequately moist. Dry eye affects not only physically such as being “dry” or “tired,” but the way it's seen as well.
・Feeling like something is in your eyes?
In case of dry eye, lack of tears and unbalanced tear quality would sometimes cause a sensation that there's something in your eye.
Please try checking if any of the following symptoms applies to you. Include mild symptoms if they persist for a long period of time. If you check more than 5 or more, you may possibly have dry eye.
□Easily get tired(eyes) □Itchy eyes □Red eyes
□Feeling heavy(eyes) □Eye mucus □Tend to get congested and reddish
□Feels like something in eyes □Any uncomfortable sensation
□Tearing with no reason □Feels dry (eyes)
□Blurry vision □Feels dazzling
Causes of Dry Eye
Although there are a numerous number of patients, dry eye is often recognized as a syndrome but not as a disease. Please be careful if your lifestyle applies to you.
・Using contact lenses
If using contact lenses, your eyes tend to get dry easily compared with non-users. Those who have symptoms like feeling something in your eyes or red eyes may possibly be diagnosed as dry eye.
・Using computer or smartphone for long time
Those who use computers for work daily basis, especially those who look at small numbers and letters or work with full concentration including on video games, should be very careful.
・Using air conditioner for long time
Those who work in an air-conditioned office all day and let the air blow onto the face also need to be careful. Their eyes will get dried easily.
・Having a LASIK surgery within six months
LASIK is an optometric laser surgery that improves vision by reshaping the cornea. In most cases, imperception occurs temporarily and dry eye is also induced as a complication for 3 to 6 months after the surgery. Mary times, it will be cured in a certain period of time, but some patients suffer from dry eye for longer period in some cases as well.
・Staying up till late at night
Staying up with over-work, partying, net-surfing or long conversation on the phone till very late at night? If you observe discomfort in eyes in the evening or night, you may doubt of dry eye.
・Frequently on (business) trips
Those who often take long flights and stay in hotels also need to be careful.
・Hay fever patients
In Spring, many people suffer from hay fever, which is an allergy occurs on eyes and nose with pollen of cedar, or other plants. Hay fever induces the symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes, or watery eyes that you can also observed as dry eye symptoms. These common symptoms of dry eye and hay fever are very similar and sometimes 2 diseases are occurred as complications.
Those who drive (taxi, bus, or truck) for a long time often, use cars for sales purpose, or drive often as a hobby, may also have dry eye if they observe any unease conditions.
As we get older, we encounter a variety of aging symptoms. Our eyes are no exception.
The function of lacrimal gland, which creates tears, deteriorates as we age, and the amount of secreted tears will be decreased.
Dry Eye Treatment
There are 2 kinds of treatment for dry eye, which are eye drop and punctal occlusion.
・Medicines for Dry Eye
In the past, the eye drop, which moisturizes and repairs damaged cornea, was widely used. Today, a new type of eye drop that works directly onto the designated layer of tears was invented, and stratification treatment that targets only the malfunctioned tear layer depending on the tear type of each patient became available. Tears are composed with 3 different layers, from outer to inner layer, there are oil layer, aqueous layer, and mucin layer. Oil layer suppresses the evaporation of water content, and mucin layer works to blend water content and the surface of the eyes together.
Soft Santear is an artificial tear fluid that has a similar quality to the real tears and improves the discomfort symptoms such as dry eye or foreign-body sensation. You can also apply this while wearing any type of contact lenses.
・Hyalein ophthalmic solution
This maintains the water content on the eye surface with the moisturizing ingredient, hyaluronic acid. This is the most widely used dry eye medicine in Japan.
・Diquas ophthalmic solution
This is a dry eye eye-drop that promotes secretion of both water content and mucin, and works effectively on the vision loss due to the severe dry eye that had not been cured with former treatment.
・Mucosta ophthalmic suspension
This promotes the secretion of mucin content. The main ingredient of Mucosta ophthalmic suspension was originally used for the medicine to protect gastric mucosa but also works effectively on the vision loss due to the severe dry eye that had not been cured with former treatment.
・Treatment with punctum plug
If no improvement is seen by eye drop treatment, punctal occlusion can be operated. This consists of inserting punctal plugs (silicone or synthetic resins) into the tear drainage area of the eye to suppress run-off of tears and keep them in the eyes longer. There is also a punctal occlusion method of stitching the tear drainage together as well.
Preventive Methods of Dry Eye
Depending on the surrounding environments, tears are easily evaporated and get dry. Particularly, improving the using condition of computer, air conditioner, and contact lenses could effectively ease the dry eye conditions.
Place your PC monitor lower than your eye level, so you don’t need to widely open your eyes and could minimize the eye surface exposed to the air. Keep in mind to take a break and blink frequently when using computers for a long time.
Stay away from the direct air from the AC. Air-conditioned room reduce humidity and cause evaporative dry eye, so please try humidifying your surrounding environments.
Please follow the usage instruction of each product. Compared with non-users, contact lens users’ tears tend to be easily evaporated and dehydrated. If you are concerned, moisturize your eyes or surrounding environment by using eye drops, humidifier, or glasses for humidity retention.
We’ve explained about dry eye in this article. We hope the information here will help you to cure or prevent your dry eye related issues. No matter how young you are, those who use a computer or smartphone for a long time daily need to be careful with dry eye.