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Dry Eye Disease

Merike Meren

Ophtalmologist

Dry eye is a condition in which there is a persistent lack of moisture in the eye, the cornea is not moisturised enough and this in turn causes discomfort. The so-called “dry eye” is a common problem and affects 5–35% of the population during their lifetime.

Risk factors are:

  • environmental – low air humidity, electric heating, fans, and air conditioners
  • working with a computer – constantly staring at a screen and forgetting to blink

  • low fluid intake

  • medications (e.g. antidepressants, heart and blood pressure medications)

  • autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome)

  • diabetes and thyroid disorders

  • hormonal imbalances (especially pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, older women)

  • post-operative condition after cataract surgery or glasses removal surgery

  • eyelid inflammation

Common complaints: 

  • tingling

  • pain

  • tears

A dry eye forces the lacrimal glands to produce tears quickly, but the tears produced in a hurry do not have the substances that keep the tear fluid in the eyelid.

  • so-called „glowing eyes”

  • sensitivity to light – particularly disturbed by daylight bulbs

  • fluctuations in visual acuity (especially when reading). Blinking eases this, as tears exit the eye from the tear ducts and moisten the eye
  • redness
  • eye strain

  • incapacity to work

  • it is easies to listen to than watch the TV in the evenings

Diagnostics:

  • a person’s subjective assessment of their eyes – different questionnaires are implemented
  • inimese subjektiivne hinnang silmade kohta – kasutatakse erinevaid küsimustikke

  • examination with a slit-lamp

  • Schirmer test – the amount of tears is measured with special paper strips

  • assessing the evaporation of tear fluid from the eye surface

  • evaluating the condition of the meibomian glands

Solutions:

  • artificial tears – are not medicines and overdose is not possible. They should be used several times a day.

  • prescription drugs

  • closing the tear points

  • intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment – reduces inflammation, constricts blood vessels, and intensifies the work of the meibomian glands. Additionally helpful in the treatment of effect rosacea, acne, and couperose.