Dry-eye syndrome

 what is dry eye syndrome
 how are tears formed
 how does dry eye syndrome develop
 who is affected
 symptoms of dry eye syndrome
 detection & diagnosis
 what would help
 what can homoeopathy do

a few tears down the cheeks can give solace to a disturbed mind but it can get worse if one cannot shed tears when you need to cry and it can perturb to no end, tollywood and the everlasting soaps (dubbed and non dubbed) on the idiot box if their best characters need to run for artificial tears at the call of duty.

Nonetheless half the number of men in this world wouldn’t mind their better halves afflicted with the same for reasons difficult to predict.

Well then welcome to the topic of dry-eye syndrome wherein the above possibilities are a common place when the eyes are unable to produce the amount of tears necessary for its own lubrication.

But what is dry eye syndrome?

Inadequate production of tears, decrease in quality of tears causing red, gritty, sand like sensation or dryness in the eye leading to various ailments of the eye over a period of time is called dry eye syndrome.

How are tears formed?

Tears are a body’s natural mechanism to protect the eye from infection and from corrosive effects of dirt, dust and other airborne particles. They provide a smooth clear surface so that vision remains clear and undistorted. All this is possible because they provide a wet, lubricated surface over the eye.
Tears are a combination of three layers over the eye.

The outermost thin layer or the lipid layer is produced by the meibomian glands and helps in prevention of evaporation of tears from the eye.
The middle layer of tears is formed by the lacrimal glands and the main constituents are water with salinity and acidity. The function of this layer is to carry antibodies and immune defence agents which would help ward away and fight infections.
The inner most layer is formed by the conjunctiva and the surface cells called the mucin layer and would help in “sticking of the tears” to the cornea.

How does dry eye syndrome develop?

* decreased production of tears due to inflammation of lacrimal glands leads to a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
* deficient production of mucin layer causes instability of the tear surface and does not adhere to the cornea causing dry eye. (immune related diseases like rheumatoid arthritis etc.)
* any infection or condition related to the meibomian glands (ex: thyroid diseases) leads to thinness of first surface of the eye or lipid layer causing evaporation of the tears leading to pressure on increased production of the lacrimal glands.
*the corneal surface could be affected due to infection, injury, drugs like anti histamines, antibiotics and anti diarrhoeal which have affinity for mucus membranes of the body, certain medicines used during general anaesthesia causing ulcers or scars.

These remain as dry spots due to which the tear film finds difficulty in adhering to the cornea.
Any condition in which there is inability of complete closure of eyelids leads to some areas of eye where the lubrication does not reach and over a period of time lead to dry eye which left unnoticed.

* dry eyes could be due to normal aging process and as we grow old our eyes may produce as much as 65% less when compared to teenagers.
* environmental factors like living in hot, dry, windy climates, high altitudes and exposure to air conditioned air for prolonged hours can cause dry eye.
Exposure to computer and tv screens, reading for prolonged hours can cause the same.
*menopausal women are more prone to this condition.
* people using contact lenses over a period of time if not sterilized properly or softened properly can hurt their cornea and lead to dry eye syndrome. Also the adherence of the lenses to the cornea would be affected.
* last but not the least is deficiency of vitamin a, which can cause xerophthalmia. (dry eye)

who is affected?

Dry eye can occur in either sexes and people of any age. It is more common in elderly people where the tear production gradually decreases.
Patients suffering with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and people suffering with allergies can be affected more often with this syndrome.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome:

spam patients suffering from this condition say that they have a foreign body sensation with burning, itching and general discomfort in the eyes.
The discomfort is in the form of scratchy, dry, sore, smarting, gritty, sand like sensation in the eyes with burning and smarting kind of pain.
�a good percentage of patients also suffer from intolerance to light, intermittent blurring of vision and sometimes disturbance of visual acuity.
�during tasks requiring concentration the number of times we blink unconsciously reduces and since the amount of tears bathing the eyes decreases while reading, watching television the chances of dry eye increases. Reduced blinking also gives a chance to the tears being evaporated quickly.
spam people using contact lenses over a period of time can lead to their tear layers being affected and leading to some dry spots over the cornea and gradually leading to lens intolerance.
spam people sensitive to pollen, dust or smoke can easily worsen their condition on exposure to the same.
When the quality of tears is reduced or the essential component which gives salinity to the tears is lost, as a response our tear glands produce more amount of tears to compensate for the same and as a result we see the eyes more flushed with tears and sometimes tears flowing down the cheeks in case of children but the paradox on examination we would know is because of dry eyes.

Detection & diagnosis:

tests in which fluorescent dyes and introduced into the superficial eye – tear layers and the extent and time they take to spread over the eyes will give us an idea about dry eye syndrome. It will also confirm if there are any scars on the cornea.
Also a simple examination called schirmer test in which tiny blotting papers are put on the lower eyelids and if the wetness permeating into the paper will give us an idea if there is decrease in tear production.
All the above non invasive investigations confirming dry eye syndrome would be done by a competent ophthalmologist.

What would help?

Using artificial tears as prescribed.
spam avoiding exposure to probable allergens like tobacco smoke.
spam reducing exposure to excessive air-conditioning.
spam consciously blinking the eyes when reading or watching television for a prolonged time.
�to wear transparent or tinted glasses while exposure to dust, smoke, heat of sun etc.
spam avoiding rubbing the eyes which will affect the tear layers.
spam drinking about ten glasses of water a day to keep the body hydrated and help in flushing away the impurities.

Also if we pay attention to our body it will also tell us the condition in which are comfortable and to follow the same.

What can homoeopathy do?

Well any treatment for this condition would need to follow three steps.
To replace natural tears, enhance natural tears and to retain natural tears.

Artificial tears are available preferably without preservatives which would help in maintaining the lubrication for some time as and when necessary.
To improve the production of tears and to reduce the evaporation of tears.

Dr. Venugopal gouri
consultant homeopath.
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First Helper Venugopal

replied April 30th, 2009
Dry eyes
I have no tears since i was born.Now i am 28 years old.When i cry my eyes get red and wet but nothing leaks out.Is there any other people suffering from the same condition, since they were born and wondering if my condition is going to get worse as i grow older?so far i was just using artificial ters from time to time.Is there any cure?
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replied June 1st, 2009
My daughter, too was born, and also has never had tears. When she cries, like you, no tears leak out. Her eyes just get red. When she was a young child, I would put in artificial tears. For at least 20 years, she is no longer even using that? Have you found out anything more about a cure.
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replied June 2nd, 2009
not really, i was searching the internet, but everyone is just talking about women in menopause, nothing at all about us, born this way.when i was small, my eyes were very dry and my mother used to clean them with camomille tea cause i had some dry stuff coming out ( sorry don't know how it s called in english).They ve done all the tests, told me it s genetical inherited from someone, and that i should ude artificial tears.now i rearly use the artificial tears 2.i feel discomfort while in a/c or rooms full of smoke.i don't know if i am going to get more serious consequences when i am older.
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replied September 3rd, 2009
sjogren's syndrome a an autoimmune disorder which causes dry eyes. Have a doctor or a rheumatalogist (sp?) run tests.
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