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Symptoms and signs of dry eye

Symptoms and signs of dry eye

Dry eye causes and risk factors

As mentioned at the beginning of the entry, dry eye is much more frequent in women, and the risk of its appearance increases with age; therefore, age and sex are two important risk factors.

Regarding the causes, 75% of the cases of dry eye are produced due to a condition known as dysfunction of the Meibomian Glands (MGD). When you suffer from this pathology, these glands in the eyelids become clogged, and fat accumulates inside, preventing it from excreting the necessary lipids to form the tear film correctly. This causes the tear to evaporate rapidly, thus causing a vicious cycle of dryness and poor quality tear production. The dry eye produced by this cause is therefore of the evaporative type, and it is the most common that exists.

There are other factors or external causes that cause dry eye syndrome:

Lack of flicker and poor quality of flicker. It is quite frequent in computer users or large readers. Intense attention on a visual task in a fixed position causes blinking to be reduced between 10 and 15 times, which causes the tear to evaporate due to lack of replacement.
Blink is very important in lubricating the eye. This is why the condition in which the eyelids do not close completely (called lagophthalmos) can lead to severe dry eye. Lagophthalmos can occur due to aging or after eyelid surgery.
Other diseases that affect the eyelids can cause dry eye, such as blepharitis and eyelids' chronic inflammation.
Work or prolonged exposure in very dry environments, such as offices with the air conditioning on continuously, also with the heating. This causes the eye to need to produce more tears than usual. Long airplane trips can also cause these symptoms. Sometimes, also arid climates with low levels of humidity and high wind can cause the same symptoms. New research speaks of growing air pollution as another possible cause.
Refractive surgery patients have less dry eye sensation due to these eyes having lost some corneal sensitivity (due to the loss of nerve endings in the treated corneal area). This leads to the eye blinking less and producing fewer tears than it needs.
Eye infections reduce corneal sensitivity, causing dry eyes, such as those affected by ocular herpes.
Ocular allergy can cause dry eye, usually due to the affectation of the eyelids and the treatment of antihistamines that reduce the water production of the lacrimal gland. We talk about eye allergy in this post.
The use of soft contact lenses can cause dry eye, either due to the water demand of the contact lens itself or due to meibomian gland dysfunction, a more frequent condition in contact lens wearers.
Sjögren's Syndrome is a disease in which the immune system attacks the glands that produce tears and saliva. This can lead to dry mouth and severe dry eye due to water deficiency. The disease affects the main lacrimal gland causing it to excrete little or no water.
Hormonal changes can cause secondary dry eye, as in menopause, infertility treatments, or cases of treatments with contraceptive pills. Dry eyes can also appear in pregnant women.
Some conditions that affect the skin can cause dry eye, such as acne rosacea.
Some medications such as anxiolytics, antidepressants, and antihypertensives can also cause or worsen dry eye.
Dry eye is more prevalent among tobacco smokers or simply in patients exposed to tobacco smoke.
Other autoimmune diseases can cause water deficiency dry eye, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Among the systemic diseases that can cause dry eye, in addition to those already mentioned, are diabetes and hyperthyroidism (if you want to know more about hyperthyroidism, visit this post).
There are eye drops that can also cause dry eyes. The most important group is the one used to treat glaucoma because they have to be used daily.

SOS is a prevalent disease in the general population, with special importance in the workplace associated with ergonomic risks in PVD users and closed environments and poorly controlled air conditioning systems.

The preventive control of this disease involves jointly assessing the individual face characteristics of the affected person and the risks associated with their work activity.

The collaboration of occupational physicians from prevention services, family / primary care physicians, ophthalmologists, allergists, etc., will facilitate coordinated action, the more effective, the earlier.

Training and information activities from the occupational medicine services can support the work carried out by health workers from the rest of the specialties involved in this issue, with better results and optimization of the available resources.

Symptoms and signs of dry eye

The symptoms themselves are poor predictors of the presence and severity of dry eye syndrome. They are usually very variable between people and can even vary according to the pain threshold or tolerance to discomfort from one person to another, even according to the type of personality. Some people with mild or minimal dry eye conditions may feel heavy in their eyes, while others may have significant problems due to their dry eye and do not consider it important to see an eye care professional (or they may not even experience any dry eye symptoms).

The most common dry eye symptoms, in addition to dry eyes, are:

Gritty sensation under the eyelids. Symptoms that are accentuated with the hours of the day.
Eye irritation, stinging and burning, burning and stinging sensation. It usually improves when you close your eyes.
Eye redness, more intense under the eyelids.
Discomfort and fatigue when performing daily tasks such as reading, driving, or staring at a television or computer screen.
Intolerance to contact lenses after a few hours of use.
Blurred vision may also be noted (more due to "image quality" than "amount of vision," something similar to what is experienced when looking through dirty glass). Vision improves by blinking several times or by instilling artificial tears.
Heaviness in the eyelids.
Photophobia (hypersensitivity to light).
Watery eyes, although it seems paradoxical. When the eye "notices" that it lacks a tear, the production of the aqueous component of tears is overstimulated as a protection mechanism. What happens is that said tear has a bad mixture of components and does not completely relieve dryness.
Dry eye also causes inflammation and pain in some more severe cases (it can lead to corneal lesions resulting from advanced chronic dryness).

What do you think?

Written by starinky

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