Learn about the causes of Dry Eye & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of
Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Dry Eye within New
Therapies which may benefit Dry Eye
Dry eye is a disease caused by decreased tear production, or an
imbalance in the tear system. Symptoms include pain, light sensitivity,
a gritty sensation, itching, redness and blurred vision.
Causes of dry eye
Dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, has a number of causes such as illnesses,
drug side-effects, hormonal changes, age and environmental factors. Inmost cases, there is no one single cause.
The eye is constantly
covered in a film of liquid which we only notice when we cry or laugh
(tears). The liquid contains proteins, mucus, fats and cells for
fighting infection. Tears help to keep the eye clean, protect it from
infection and aid vision.
Tears are produced by the lacrimal
functional unit which contains the lacrimal gland, meibomian gland,
eyelid, cornea and tear duct. Together, these parts produce the liquid
substance, spread the tears across the eye and allow the tears to run
off into the nose. If any part of the unit is affected, the quantity
and quality of tears is reduced resulting in dry eye syndrome.
The lacrimal functional unit can be affected by:
- Hormonal changes – hormones stimulate tear production. Hormonal changes such as the menopause can make women susceptible to dry eye syndrome.
- Nervous system – the nervous system triggers tears to protect the eyes from harmful substances such as smoke or air pollution.
- Environment – factors such as the sun, wind and high altitude can cause tears to evaporate leading to dry eyes.
- Occupational hazards
– jobs that require reading, writing or computer use cause the eyes to
blink less, this results in tear evaporation leading to dry eye.
- Drugs – certain medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines and beta-blockers may cause dry eye syndrome.
- Contact lenses – lenses can irritate the eye causing dry eyes.
- Laser eye surgery – symptoms of dry eye syndrome can be experienced after laser surgery although they usually clear after a few weeks.
- Medical conditions
– certain conditions such as conjunctivitis, eczema and rosacea can
cause the eyelids to become inflamed leading to dry eye syndrome.
- Age – fewer tears are produced as the body ages leading to dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eye
The common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
eye syndrome can lead to further complications such as scarred corneas
and conjunctivitis. Symptoms of these conditions include:
- dry, sore or gritty eyes
- red eyes
- watery eyes when exposed to wind
- eyelids that stick together when waking in the morning
- light sensitivity
- red eyes
- painful eyes
- vision deterioration
Diagnosis of dry eye
Dry eye syndrome can permanently
damage your sight so if you experience any of the above symptoms visit
your GP as soon as possible.
The GP will make a diagnosis based
on your symptoms and perform an examination to check for any underlying
causes. The GP may then refer you to an eye specialist (optometrist)
who will examine your eyes and perform a few diagnostic tests such as:
Your GP may also refer you to a surgeon who specialises in eye diseases (ophthalmologist).
test – this test involves small pieces of blotting paper which are
placed under the eyelids to study how wet the paper becomes.
- Rose Bengal test – a non-toxic red dye is dropped into the eye to see how well the tears are functioning.
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