What Is Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca?
Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca develops when the tear glands do not provide adequate moisture to the eyes causing the eye to become dry. There can be many reasons for the eyes to become dry such as inadequate production of tears or tears that are of suboptimal quality. Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca causes a discomforting feeling. The eyes may burn or sting due to this condition. The eyes may also burn or sting when looking at the computer screen for a prolonged period of time or while driving. This condition is treatable and certain lifestyle changes may go a long way in curing Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca.
What Are The Causes Of Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca?
There can be many reasons for Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. One cause may be some abnormality in the composition of tears. Other causes may be certain medications or environmental conditions which can cause Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. Some of the medications which can cause Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca are:
- Hormonal replacement medications
- Some antidepressant medications.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca?
Some Of The Symptoms Of Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca Are:
- Stinging and burning sensation in the eye
- Presence of mucus around the eyes
- Severe irritation of the eyes, especially from wind or smoke
- Fatiguing of the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Foreign body sensation in the eyes
- Blurry vision, especially after looking at an object continuously for some time.
How Is Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca Diagnosed?
To diagnose Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca the following measures are undertaken:
- Detailed Ophthalmologic Examination: The physician will take a detailed history of any prior problems with the eyes and will look at the overall health of the eye
- Measurement of Tear Volume: The physician may also look at the individual's tear production. This is done by the Schirmer Test. In this test, strips of blotting paper is kept under the lower eyelids for some time and then the physician will look at the amount of strip that becomes wet due to tears
- Quality of Tears: There are tests which make use of special eyedrops or other staining products to look at cornea and also check how long it takes for the tears to evaporate
What Are Treatments For Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca?
For individuals with mild symptoms of Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, treatment will involve eyedrops like Artificial Tears which are readily available over-the-counter.
However, if the symptoms are persistent and do not improve with over-the-counter measures then it becomes imperative to identify the root cause of the condition and the treatment will be aimed at eradicating that cause such as if a medication is the cause of the Dry Eyes then changing that medication will eliminate the problem.
In case Dry Eyes or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca is caused due to improper closure of eyelids then a minor surgical procedure may be required to correct the problem.
Some Of The Medications Used To Treat Dry Eyes Or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca Are:
Antibiotics: These can be given for decreasing inflammation in the eyes. They can be given in the form of eyedrops or ointment. They are also available as oral tablets
Eyedrops: The physician may also prescribe eyedrops like Restasis for control of corneal inflammation
Inserts: There are also some eye inserts available in the market which helps with individuals with severe Dry Eyes. Even artificial tears are not helpful for them. These inserts are placed between the eyeball and the lower eyelid and it slowly releases a substance which lubricates the eye.
- To sufficiently lubricate the eyes, one can apply warm washcloth to the eyes. This can be done by using a clean cloth and we make it wet with lukewarm water. Hold the cloth over the eyes for a few minutes. Repeat the same process when the water dries off from the cloth. Slowly rub the washcloth over the eyelids.
- One can also use mild soap on the eyelids to lubricate them. This is usually a baby shampoo or a medicinal soap which can be prescribed by the physician. Take some soap or shampoo in the fingers and rub gently at the base of the eyes keeping the eyes closed. After a few minutes, clean the soap away with water.