How would you know if you are suffering from Dry Eyes Syndrome and whether any intervention is needed? And if yes, to what degree? Here are some symptoms of dry eyes to watch out for.

Dry eye Disease(DED), as the name suggests, is the lack of moisture in the eyes that affects the formation of tears and the ocular (eye) surface. Predominantly caused by caused by 2 reasons either tear deficiency or excessive tear evaporation, the dry eye disease results in discomfort, visual disturbance and pain in the eyes. The severity of dry eyes symptoms ranges from slight discomfort and hazy vision to more uncomfortable eyelid abnormalities affecting thequality of life of the patient immensely. When there are underlying medical conditions, dry eyes might indicate immediate attention is required and warrants a definite course of medical treatment by a certified ophthalmologist.




How does one know if they are suffering from Dry Eyes, whether any intervention is needed, and to what degree? Though factors like old age, exposure to electronic screens and use of contact lenses are often the culprits, dry eye disease is not limited to these and can be caused by various other reasons. Here are some symptoms of dry eyes to watch out for1:

Itchy eyes:Caused by lower tear levels in the eyes, itchy eyes can manifest itself as slight or severe discomfort in the patient. A feeling of irresistible itch and the subsequent pain due to scratching can be quite frustrating. It is important to note the frequency and causes of itchy eyes. Does it occur after prolonged screen time or after spending hours in low humidity spaces? Sometimes itchiness may be caused by tiredness and may not warrant a medical intervention other thana few lifestyle changes.

Redness in the eyes: Dry eye patients often complain about redness in the eyes,asa lack of hydration in the eyes creates friction on the ocular surface. It isa common complaint that patients feel as if something is stuck in the eye or they feel a grainy sensation on the eyelids. With every blink it creates discomfort thereby causing redness.

Blurred Vision: Blurred vision is one of themost common symptoms of dry eyes. You may feel the presence of a foreign object in your eye causing distortion in what you see or a hazy image formation. You would also often have difficulty recognizing people or reading, or even using stairs due to the blurred vision.

Secondary reflex watering: This isa vicious cycle, as lack of hydration itself is the cause of dry eyes. However, it may be a reflex reaction where your body is sending you a hazard signal that your eyes are not receiving the lubrication they need. It is best to consult a doctor who can assess the true cause of excessively watery eyes. Again, it is important to distinguish between ocular surface allergies and infections with dry eye, as the symptoms can often overlap, watery eyes being one of the most common ones.




Medical practitioners would often diagnose patients based on structured questionnaires and offer treatment based on the severity of the disease. Symptoms and sensitivity of dry eyes have been classified into:

  • Marginal (mild or occurs under environmental stress),
  • Mild (moderate episiodic or chronic, stress or no stress),
  • Moderate(severe, frequent or constant) and
  • Severe

Dry eye disease is a condition that can be controlled and managed well even if it can't be cured completely. Hence, early detection and diagnosis can improve a patient’s quality of life to a great extent. Using artificial tears like Blink Tears Lubricating Eye Drops can also help in this regard which is supported by studies conducted on the application of eye drops to patients suffering from dry eyes2. As dry eyes tends to affect more people based on age, sex, exposure to different environments and lifestyles, it is important to watch for the signs early on.




References:
1Gallup Poll Dry Eye 2012,Dry Eye Syndrome_ Causes, Symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye
2RobertMonte ́s-Mico ́, Alejandro Cervin ̃ o, Teresa Ferrer-Blasco, Santiago Garcı ́a-La ́zaro, Susana Ortı ́-Navarro. 2010, Optical quality after instillation of eyedrops in dry-eye syndrome, J Cataract Refract Surg ,36: 935-940.

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