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Constantly dry eyes? Doctor reveals why this happens, how to treat, make eyes feel better

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

Do you know anyone who keeps eye drops in their purse at all times? People who wipe their eyes when the seasons change or after being in the air conditioning? They, like so many others, suffer from dry eye condition.

Dr. Eyal Cohen, an expert in eye diseases spoke about why this develops, how to cure it, and what people can do to improve their situation and make their eyes feel better.

According to the expert “Dry eye is a syndrome that is very, very common.”

He went on to say that the syndrome affects 10 percent of the population overall, with 25 percent of the adult population suffering from it. There are times of the year when it is more frequent, and there are reasons for this.

This may appear to be a minor issue in comparison to other ailments, but people who suffer from dry eyes suffer immensely.

“It often feels like a small grain of sand in the eye, or like cleaning the windshield on a car, and the visors are a bit dry and you hear squeaks and see that the windshield isn’t clean – that’s how it feels,” explains the doctor. “In a more serious condition, you can get vision damage, a daily burn complaint. It feels like a certain scratch.”

Constantly dry eyes? Doctor reveals why this happens, how to treat, make eyes feel better
Constantly dry eyes? Doctor reveals why this happens, how to treat, make eyes feel better

When ophthalmologists examine a dry eye, he says it looks like sand is spread across the cornea. It’s not truly sand, but aberrant, non-transparent cells that can impede vision. Fortunately, because the outer layer of the cornea is a regenerative layer, the smoothness of the surface recovers and vision improves once the moisture is restored to the eye.

Why do our eyes become dry?

When asked why dry eye occurs, Cohen stated that the condition might be caused by a number of factors. There are two major kinds, he explained. One is a lack of tears, which occurs when the eye is unable to produce adequate tears. On the other hand, the eye produces sufficient tears, but the evaporation of those tears is increased. Each situation has a variety of causes, one of which is laser eyeglass removal surgery.

Cohen said that the structure of the cornea is altered during eyeglass removal (laser) surgery, and the cornea is the one that informs the tear gland to secrete tears. There is some dryness after surgery due to the loss of positive feedback that the eye gives to secrete more and more tears, but in the vast majority of instances, 99 percent, full recovery is achieved.

He further adds: As “the nerve endings that are damaged during the surgery are regenerated, and the feedback for the secretion of tears returns, the eye becomes moist again and feels good again.”

Contact lenses can also prevent tears from forming.

“Because you put them on for hours, you hurt that positive feedback that the eye gives to the tear ducts, and when that feedback is damaged there’s less production of tears,” says Cohen.

If you wear contacts for more than 12 hours, your eyes will become irritated, so figure out your ‘tipping point’ and remove them after 10 or 12 hours, before your eyes become irritated.

The sensation is different in the event of enhanced tear evaporation, as people feel as if they are always crying. Multiple tears, according to Cohen, are an indication of dry eye, but a reversal of the sense of dry eye, because the lacrimal gland secretes the aqueous fluid of tears on a regular basis, but not the fatty component that is meant to trap the tears over the eye.

“Then the tears flow down, flooding the face, but the eye dries,” he adds.

Dry eye solution

“The solutions are many, with the most common being drops, tear substitutes,” says Cohen, adding that there are many types available. “There are tear substitutes with a preservative so that the bottle doesn’t become contaminated, but preservatives can damage the eye area, so there’s a limit of up to 4 times a day, a maximum of 6 times a day,

“When the condition is severe, we prefer to give tear substitutes without preservatives,” he adds. “They usually come in small ampoules or in special bottles that don’t allow pollutants to penetrate so there’s no preservative and they can be used frequently, even every half hour or hour.”

But sometimes even that isn’t enough. Cohen emphasizes that dry eye is a chronic disease that we have all of our lives, thus the therapy is ongoing, daily, routine maintenance, and that people who suffer from dry eye syndrome should take care of their eyes in the same way they wash their teeth.

“Tear substitutes are a band-aid. Advanced treatments improve the ability to secrete the fatty layer of tears, in order to moisturize the eye.”

There have been various advances for this aim, including heating masks that dissolve the fat that plugs the glands, special devices that heat the glands, vibration-based equipment that aids gland function, and oral drugs.

How to prevent eyes from drying

As “it gets worse as we get older, there are things that can be done as a preventative treatment. Just as a dental hygienist checks the oral cavity once a year, so does ophthalmology, as well as eye surface maintenance,” says the specialist.

As a prophylactic measure, the glands that release adipose tissue can increase their function. He suggests drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning since “fluid balance in the body is also significant in the maintenance of dry eyes.” He suggests doing a forceful blink of the eyelids before going to bed to release fat that has become trapped and accumulated in the glands.

If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, it’s critical to understand how it affects your eyes and adjust your behavior accordingly. We blink 20 times each minute on average, but only 4 times per minute when staring at a computer screen. Glare reduces the quantity of blinking, causing fluids to evaporate faster and the eye to become dry. Every 20 minutes, he suggests glancing out the window and detaching from the screen for a few moments.

“Blink hard, let the glands secrete fat, and return to work,” he adds. “A lot of times beyond not blinking in terms of frequency, we also don’t blink in full blink, so it’s important to note that you close your eyelids to the end.”

Dr. Cohen has another suggestion: “Squeeze glands” at the end of the day.

“It’s very simple and anyone can do it at home. Close your eyes partially and simply push the fat from the bottom towards the lash border, and from the top towards the lash border.”

Cohen also stated that doing this daily activity makes his eyes feel healthier.

Image Credit: Getty

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