Dry Eye Syndrome

Every person has probably felt the sensation of itching and as if there was a foreign body in the eye. As a rule these complaints pass by. But if the complaints turn into a daily nuisance, you might be experiencing the dry eye syndrome.

The dry eye syndrome is formed when tear production is slow, its function is not adequate and the tear film covering the eye is fragmented and unstable.

The tear film consists of three parts:

  • exterior layer or oil layer that prevents the tear fluid from evaporating;
  • middle layer or water layer that makes up the largest part and consists mostly of water;
  • interior layer or the mucus layer that helps the tear film form connections with the cornea’s epithelial cells.

Tear film forms up a significant part of the eye’s power to break optical light and if there are defects in that structure, then also optics and vision acuity are affected. Tear film also has a protection function that is lessened in case of defects and therefore also inflammations are more sudden.

The dry eye syndrome is a disease with many factors which means that problems may lie in eyelids, lacrimal glands, eyelid gland, cornea or mucous membrane. The disease has many symptoms that affect a person’s life quality significantly and which treatment can be quite complicated.

The studies have concluded that nearly 18% of women and 11% of men experience dry eye complaints during their life and aging increases the risk of growing into a syndrome.

The cause of dry eye syndrome for younger people are associated with:

  • working with computer and other screens – eye blinking decreases;
  • using air conditioner;
  • using contact lenses;
  • patients’ eyes may be more dry after refractive surgery;
  • air being too dry at work or at home;
  • pregnancy, breast-feeding or using contraceptives;
  • using antidepressants, heart medication or other medication.

The cause of dry eye syndrome for older people are associated with:

  • decreased production of tear fluid related to aging;
  • hormonal changes accompaning menopause;
  • the dysfunction of the eyelid gland;
  • postoperative corneal changes.

Complaints of the dry eye syndrome are very different:

  • the sensation of having sand in the eye
  • sense of stinging
  • sense of pain
  • eyes itching
  • soreness
  • sensitivity and agitation, a burning sensation
  • blurry vision
  • sense of having a film before the eyes
  • eyes watering
  • red eyes
  • sensitivity to light

It is not possible to cure the dry eye syndrome but it is certainly possible to relieve it. It might help to increase air moisture with special humidifiers. When working with computer, it helps to position the monitor a little lower from the eye level, then the upper lid covers the greater part of the eye’s surface.
It is also important to make a small break after every 20–30 minutes.

In many cases it helps to use moisturizing eye drops. Which type of eye drops to use, please turn to your ophtalmologist for a consultation, as there is a wide variety of eye drops with different effects. It might also help to take omega‑3 fatty acids that promote the work of eyelid gland. In more severe cases it is possible to position shutters into the eye’s tear duct which block the tears from moving into the tear channel and makes them stay on the eye’s surface and thus moisturizing the eye.