Dry Eyes

April 1, 2023

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Dry eyes, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears or the quality of the tears is poor. Tears are essential for maintaining healthy eyes, as they provide lubrication, nourishment, and protection against infection.

Symptoms of dry eyes may include:

  • A gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
  • Redness or irritation of the eyes
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
  • Eye fatigue or discomfort, especially during activities that require visual concentration, such as reading or working on a computer

Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Aging
  • Certain medical conditions, such as Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus
  • Medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, or antidepressants
  • Environmental factors, such as dry or windy weather, air conditioning, or smoke exposure
  • Hormonal changes, such as those associated with menopause

Treatment for dry eyes may include:

  • Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to provide temporary relief and replace natural tears
  • Prescription eye drops or medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce inflammation and improve tear production
  • Warm compresses or eyelid massages to improve the quality of the tears and reduce inflammation
  • Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding environmental triggers or taking frequent breaks during activities that require visual concentration

In severe cases, more invasive treatments, such as punctal plugs or surgery, may be necessary to improve tear production and reduce symptoms. It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms of dry eyes persist or worsen, as untreated dry eyes can lead to complications, such as corneal damage or vision loss.

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