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Dry Eyes may seem like a simple problem but is it right to easily dismiss it? The answer is, no. When the eye feels like it is not properly lubricated, it is important to pay attention. This is the body’s way of expressing that there is something wrong.

Dry Eyes may seem like a simple problem but is it right to easily dismiss it? The answer is, no.

How Eyes Become Dry

Blinking is a reflex movement which is important in maintaining the health of the eyes. Normally, the glands produce sufficient amount of tears which keep the eyes wet. When a person blinks, the tears scatter around the eyes and cover the surface. Because of this, the eyes would feel smooth and the movement of eyeball would not be strenuous. When the glands do not produce enough tears, the thin layer of film which smoothens the surface disappears and eyes become dry.

In some occasions, the production of tears is not solely to blame. The environmental conditions may cause dry eyes too. For example, air-conditioned room, extremely cold weather, riding a bike, being on the plane and staring at the computer monitor for long hours can all cause dry eyes.

Types

There are two clinical variants of dry eyes. When dryness of the eyes is experienced too often, it is best to consult a physician. Eye drops can be a temporary solution but if the problem is recurring, an ophthalmologist or optometrist needs to check what the real problem is. Here are the two types of eye dryness.

•    Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye. The lacrimal glands are the primary reason which triggers dry eyes. Patients who experience this type of case produce poor tear quality which means that the watery component is insufficient.

•    Evaporative dry eye.
It is the meibomian glands which are responsible for this. These glands are also found within the eyelids. They produce the oily part of the tears. When the meibomian glands malfunction, the tears would lack oil and could evaporate much quicker.

Proneness to Dry Eyes

•    Damaged Tear Gland. When the tear glands no longer function the way that it should, then the moisture which should lubricate the eyes is no longer sufficient.

•    Cosmetic Surgery. When people venture into cosmetic surgery which alters the shape of the eyes, the natural production of tears can be affected. Sometimes, when the opening becomes too wide, dryness is experienced more often.

•    Age. As people grow older, the production of tears become less and less, especially those who are beyond 50 years old.

•    Women Who Are on Post-Menopausal. When women menopause, their body goes through extensive hormonal changes too. When this happens, even the production of tears is affected. In many cases, there is no longer sufficient amount of tears that are being produced by the glands.

•    Eye Laser Surgery. Dryness of eyes is commonly experienced by patients who went through this procedure. This is because tear production is reduced by the procedure. The good thing is that problem with dry eyes will eventually go away as the patient recovers.

•    Computer Operators.
Over the course of the last 20 years computer use has become ubiquitous in the workplace, at home and travelling in between.  Studies over the years have shown that computer use dramatically slows down blinking, which in turn can create a vicious cycle of dry eye.  Everyone is at risk.  Careful education and proactive treatment is the solution to this epidemic.

•    Medications.
There are a number of medications that can cause dry eyes. Oral antihistamines for allergies, diuretics for blood pressure control and a very significant one called Roaccutane.  Roaccutane is particularly an issue as it is primarily used for acne amongst teenagers, who also are massive computer users.  If you are takinmg Roaccutane it is imperative that you also have regular dry eye assessments so that the risk of chronic dry eyes can be minimized.

Call us on (02) 9290 1899 or Book an Appointment Online for your dry assessment and treatment program.