13.05.2019 change 13.05.2019
Kamil Szubański
Kamil Szubański

Blinking is important, or how to protect yourself from the dry eye syndrome

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Eye pain, dryness or photophobia - all these could be symptoms of dry eye syndrome. More and more people are struggling with this disorder. Contributing factors include air conditioning, overheating of rooms and rare blinking in front of computer or smartphone screens.

Dry eye syndrome is a disease of the eye`s surface, consisting of disorders of the tear film. It usually manifests as photophobia, stinging or pain in the eye and a feeling of dryness, says Prof. Zofia Michalewska from the Jasne Błonia Ophthalmology Clinic in Łódź.

The expert emphasizes that our tears consist not only of the aqueous layer but also of the lipid and mucin layers. Each of these layers may suffer certain disorders that can cause different symptoms. It is not only photophobia or eye pain, but sometimes paradoxically even lacrimation.

"Many people who see an ophthalmologist with tearing eyes have dry eye syndrome, and lacrimation is due to the fact that tears are produced in excess to compensate for the deficiency of one of these layers" - adds Prof. Michalewska.

There is a whole range of environmental factors that cause dry eye syndrome: from overheated rooms in the winter to air conditioning in the summer. There is also rare blinking in front of the screens of computers, televisions and smartphones. But the dry eye syndrome may also be caused by autoimmune diseases, rheumatic diseases and a whole range of hormonal disorders.

"Dry eye syndrome also affects the majority of patients who have undergone ophthalmic surgery: vitrectomy, cataract surgery or laser vision correction" - adds Prof. Michalewska.

She emphasizes that if dry eye syndrome is properly diagnosed and treated, you can live with it for the rest of your life, with greater or lesser comfort. However, if it is not treated in time, it can even lead to severe corneal damage.

How to protect yourself from dry eye syndrome? First of all, remember to blink while sitting in front of a computer screen or TV set, and avoid air-conditioned rooms. But that is not always possible. In tat case, you should use moisturizing drops, which are effective for most people. In addition, a diet rich in omega acids is recommended.

Unfortunately, in the case patients, in whom these usual supplementation methods are insufficient, a medical visit, professional diagnostics and more advanced forms of treatment are necessary.

"There are many possibilities. Firstly, there are tests that determine exactly which part of the tear film is damaged and allow to personalize the treatment" - Prof. Michalewska says.

The expert emphasises that in more advanced forms of dry eye syndrome, discuss prescription drugs and treatments can be used. The latter include inserting tear duct plugs.

"It is a completely painless procedure performed during an ordinary ophthalmologist visit. It does not require a stay in the hospital or any restrictions on the part of the patient. There are also available treatments for dry eyes, which consist in warming up, or the e-EYE procedure - percutaneous stimulation of Meiboma glands. These treatments can alleviate these ailments for some time, and sometimes permanently" - adds Prof. Zofia Michalewska.

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