Eyes are our gateway to the world. They are the most sensitive sensory organ and need constant care and safe-keeping. Blinking, sleeping, yawning are some of the key reflexes used by our body to keep our eyes safe and healthy. Apart from that, many minute-level processes work 24 x 7 to maintain the general well-being of our eyes. Do you know there are tear ducts at the end of each eye that constantly produce tears to form a moist safety layer over our eyes?
These tears lubricate the eyeballs and keep dust, foreign agents, and dirt out. Any imbalance or malfunctioning of these ducts can land you in serious trouble. Dry eyes condition is a common condition that results from malfunctioning of tear ducts. It is not a fatal disease unless you let it turn nasty to the point of no return. Many things can result in dryness in the eyes.
Top 15 Causes of Dry Eyes
The following paragraphs cover the most significant ones in detail. Let’s look at them before we learn about the best dry eye treatment options and tips on managing their symptoms.
1. Overexposure to Computer Screen
It is one of the most common causes of dry eye syndrome. Constant staring at the computer screen causes eye strain, headaches, irritation, itching, and dryness of the eyes. People who work on computers sometimes, develop the habit of blinking less and less, which disturbs the functionality of tear ducts located at the end of the eye. Slowly, the eye-moisturizing tears start evaporating at a rapid pace leaving eyes dry and unlubricated. The result is dryness and a constant itching sensation in the eyes.
2. Medicinal Side-Effect
Some medications reduce the quality of tears in our eyes. Antihistamines, beta-blockers, and diuretics used for curing hypertension can easily reduce the mucus production process in our body. Since the tears are formed of mucus, oil, and water, lack of mucus leads to chronic dryness in the eyes. So, if you are taking any such medication and you experience dryness in your eyes, it is wise to let your doctor know.
3. Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes. If your diet lacks Vitamin A rich food items, it can lead to a deficiency that directly affects the eyes. Common results of Vitamin A deficiency include dry eyes, night blindness, and visual impairments. It is important to get yourself tested if you have dryness in your eyes.
Hormones do have a vital effect on our overall health, including the eyes. Women who are going through menopause sometimes experience dryness in their eyes. Hormones have a crucial role in the production of tears, so when they get disturbed, the effect is visible on all related processes. You can always ask your doctor to prescribe some good artificial teardrops that keep the irritation and dryness of your eyes under control.
5. Sjogren’s Syndrome
It is an autoimmune disease that directs the white blood cells to attack tear ducts and salivary glands. The result is less tear production and dryness in the eyes. Your doctor will prescribe steroids eye drops to maintain lubrication in the eyes. But if that fails to provide needed relief, you may have surgical implantation of silicone plugs in tear ducts. The silicon plugs will then preserve the tears produced by the ducts to keep your eyes moist.
Our tear ducts start producing fewer tears as we age. It is the reason why many people experience dryness in the eyes in their 50s and 60s. Artificial tears are very useful in curing such conditions as they provide the needed lubrication and smoothness to the eyeballs.
7. Laser Surgery
Sometimes, laser surgery cuts some nerves in our cornea. It may lead to lesser tear production for a few days. It is a temporary situation and goes away as the nerves heal automatically from the lesions. Until then, you can use artificial eye lubricants to keep irritation and itching under control.
You may not have heard this term before, but it is a common condition. When the oil glands in our inner eyelids become inflamed and clogged, the condition is known as blepharitis. Dryness in the eyes is one of its indirect side-effects. It also results in the formation of oily flakes around the eyes. It is an incurable condition, its medications only reduce inflammation. The patient needs artificial tears to reduce the eyes’ redness and dryness.
9. Contact Lenses
Chronic dry eye is one of the many side-effects of long-term use of contact lenses. The artificial lenses reduce the relay of oxygen to the cornea, which affects the normal functioning of tear ducts. The lubrication reduces, and the patient feels irritation, itching, and dryness in the eyes. A viable solution is to wear eyeglasses occasionally. Nowadays, there are new kinds of contact lenses that are made specifically to avoid eyes’ dryness, so if they are available around you, go for them.
10. Autoimmune Diseases
Many autoimmune diseases have a deep impact on our overall well-being. The list includes diseases like Sjogren’s Syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. We have already discussed Sjogren’s Syndrome. All these disorders disturb the composition of our tears. The changes affect the quality and effect of tears resulting in dryness in the eyes. If you are suffering from any of these diseases, make sure to give extra care to your eyes.
11. Dry Environment
Dry air has an aggravating effect on our eyes. It doesn’t matter if it is indoors or outdoors, it is why people in high altitudes have dryness in the eyes. If you are outside, it is better to wear glasses or use other means to keep your eyes hydrated. Inside, you can use humidifiers to maintain the moisture content in the air. Other environmental factors include chemicals, fumes, smoke, sunlight, and wind.
Unchecked or untreated diabetes has a direct effect on our nerves. Polyneuropathy is one of the common side-effects of high blood sugar; it can damage the nerve fibers in multiple parts of our body, including our eyes. This condition may interfere with the working of tear glands and result in irritation, redness, and dryness in the eyes. If the related nerves are damaged, then there is very little that can be done about it. Therefore, it is crucial to control the situation beforehand and not let it reach a chronic level.
Dry eyes are synonymous with allergies. Season allergens often come in contact with the eyes and interfere with the working of tear glands. Dry eyes are common during the months of seasonal change when pollen is high in the air. Some allergic medications also lead to dryness in the eye. If that is the case with you, you may need to find alternative methods to handle the condition.
Constant interaction with smokers or the habit of chain-smoking can also lead to dry eyes. If you are habitual of smoking daily, it is better to bring the habit under control for the sake of your well-being. Nicotine replacement therapies are considered highly useful in this case.
15. Less Blinking
It is not only the people who constantly work on computers that forget to blink. There are several other categories of people like those who study a lot or watch a lot of movies, television, and similar other stuff. When your eyes stay open or static for longer periods, your tear ducts are strained, and they start malfunctioning. It again affects their tear-producing capacity and leads to dryness, irritation, and itching.
Tips On How To Keep Your Eyes Safe From Dryness
If your eyes are feeling sensitive, it is better to refrain from smoking, smoky environment, dry places, and hair dryers.
If you find allergic medicines as a cause for dryness in the eyes, it is better to go for alternative treatments. Ayurvedic treatment for dry eyes, for example, can rectify the situation in a natural way without causing side-effects. Even the Ayurvedic medicines for dry eyes treatment are known to be completely herbal with soothing qualities.
- While going to windy places, it is better to wear glasses or eye protection.
- Always try to identify the right cause for eyes dryness. Sometimes, there may be a deep underlying cause like some autoimmune disease or a hormonal disorder.
- Learn to take breaks and look away from the screen from time to time, and remember to blink.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is the cause of several health problems, including dry eyes. If you are working in an air-conditioned or heated environment,
- keep a water bottle next to you. Hydration is the most natural way to maintain lubrication in all parts of our body, including the eyes.
- If you are suffering from the eyes’ dryness, it is better to use Ayurvedic eye drops for dry eyes than chemical-based lubricants. Ayurvedic eye drops are constituted by natural soothing agents that lubricate our eyes without any side-effects.
Dr. Dinesh Sharma
Dr. Dinesh Sharma is an Ayurvedic Eye Specialist and Founder of Prakash Nethralaya treating severe eye and chronic diseases since 2005 and promoting ways to keep eyes healthy with a crystal clear vision. Know More
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