Dry eye or dry eye syndrome (SOS) is a process that affects many people yet to be diagnosed. It is estimated that more than 60% of the population over 45 years of age suffers from this disorder, around 5 million people in Spain. An ocular pathology mainly affects women increases with age, up to 80% in those over 60 years of age.
What is dry eye?
Dry eye is an ocular irregularity in which the eye produces an insufficient amount of tears, closely related to hormonal changes in the case of women, as well as its poor quality or rapid evaporation, generally caused by alterations in the glands Meibomian (DGM).
These glands, which are found in the eyelids and secrete lipids (fats), are responsible for lubricating the ocular surface and preventing the tear film from evaporating, known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
Circumstances that affect the ocular surface are the eyelids, the tear film, the conjunctiva, and the cornea.
This lack or non-existence of the tear in the eye will be a problem since the tear is in charge of nourishing, moisturizing, and lubricating the eye’s surface.
It is located under the eyelids and works like the oil in a machine so that the blink passes smoothly over the eye without scratching or damaging it.
Dry eye diagnosis
The ophthalmologist will begin by doing an eye exam. He will look at your eyelids and the surface of your eye. He will also examine your blinking.
There are many different tests for the diagnosis of dry eye. The ophthalmologist can perform a test that measures the quality or thickness of your tears. He can also measure how quickly you make tears.
Dry eye treatment
Adding tears to it
The ophthalmologist may ask you to use artificial tears. They are eye drops similar to your tears. You can use artificial tears as many times as you need them. You can buy artificial tears without a prescription. There are many brands. Try several until you find the one that works best for you.
If you use artificial tears more than six times a day or are allergic to preservatives, you should use preservative-free tears. This is due to the frequent use of tears with preservatives, whose chemical components can irritate the eyes.
Keeping the tears
Your ophthalmologist may recommend blocking your tear ducts. This makes natural tears stay in the eyes for longer. Silicone or gel tear plugs can be inserted into the tear ducts. You can remove the plugs later as needed. The ophthalmologist may also recommend surgery that permanently closes the tear ducts.
Increase your tears
The ophthalmologist may ask you to use a prescription eye drop medicine. This helps maximize the potential of your tears.
Treat the causes of dry eye.
If your eyes are irritated, your ophthalmologist can treat the problem. Your ophthalmologist may recommend:
prescription eye drops or ointments
warm compresses over the eyes
massage your eyelids
certain eyelid cleansers
Tips for preventing dry eye
Try not to use a hairdryer, if possible.
Stay away from very hot rooms. In winter, add moisture to the environment with a humidifier. You can also place a container of water near the heater or radiator.
Protect your eyes from the dry wind by wearing wrap goggles when outdoors.
Talk to your eye doctor about adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet to relieve dry eyes. They are found naturally in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, and anchovies) and flaxseeds. Omega-3 fatty acids can be added as a dietary supplement (pill or pill).
Do you wake up with a dry and gritty eye? Use an ointment with artificial tears or thick eye drops before going to sleep.
Dry eye is a chronic disease that has no definitive cure. Instead, the treatment has 2 goals; avoid and cure possible lesions on the surface of the eye caused by dryness and alleviate the patient’s symptoms with dry eye.
Treatment consists of:
Replace the tear and increase the lubrication of the ocular surface. Artificial tears are used, preferably without preservatives, in eye drops, gel, or ointment. In severe cases, using the patient’s blood products in eye drops is an option.
Avoid the existing tear from the ocular surface by using glasses that completely cover the eyes, even on the sides.
Reduce inflammation of the ocular surface caused by dryness using anti-inflammatory eye drops. An ophthalmologist must strictly control the use of this type of drug as it has side effects such as increased intraocular pressure.
Improve and stimulate the function of the meibomian lacrimal glands in the eyelids, thus increasing the lipid layer to reduce the evaporation of the tear film. To achieve this objective, local heat treatment is used on the eyelids, massaging the eyelids and cleaning the eyelid edges. At the same time, increasing Omega-3 in the daily diet also helps to improve the composition of the tear.
Improve the environmental state by increasing humidity with a humidifier or water containers with large surfaces such as a basin.
Make the patient aware that blinking is of great importance for the lubrication of the eye’s surface and should be done frequently, at least 12-15 times per minute.
Dry eye syndrome in the workplace is associated with new ways of working, with increasing use of screens and electronic devices and environmental conditions arising in modern designs of offices, offices, and other environments. Occupational exposures to ionizing radiation, chemicals, or environmental dust also influence, with increased dry eyes.
The study of the pathophysiological aspects and occupational causes of dry eye should be a coordinated task between occupational health ral, public health, and those responsible for the National Health System, aimed at more effective primary and secondary preventive actions and a correct diagnosis, control, and monitoring of the disease.
Greater knowledge of occupational risks and agreed and coordinated actions between occupational physicians, preventionists, primary care physicians, and involved specialties, such as ophthalmology, will allow obtaining results, which are more effective the earlier, and optimizing the available resources.
Dry eye syndrome
Occupational risk factors
Dry eye syndrome in the workplace is associated with new ways of working, with increasing use of screens and electronic devices and environmental conditions encountered in modern office designs and other environments. Also affect occupational exposure to ionizing radiation, chemicals, or atmospheric dust with increased ocular dryness.
The study of pathophysiological aspects and labor causality of the dry eye must be to develop joint tasks in Occupational Health, Public Health in coordination with and responsible for the national health system, which would involve primary and secondary preventive measures more effective and proper diagnosis, control and monitoring of the disease,
A better knowledge of occupational hazards and actions agreed and coordinated between occupational physicians, preventers, primary care physicians, and specialist physicians, such as ophthalmology, will be much more effective when earlier and optimize available resources.