Natural tears are a mix of water, essential oils, mucus, and antibodies. Water maintains the moisture levels while the oils lubricate the space in between to reduce friction. Mucus spreads the lubricant evenly and antibodies are necessary to ward off common eye infections. Dry eyes is a result of an imbalance in the compounds that make up the natural lubricant. The condition forces the tear glands to stop the production of tears resulting in pain and discomfort around eyeballs. A gritty feeling, itchiness, redness, blurry vision, and increased sensitivity to light are some of the common symptoms of dry eyes.
Causes of dry eyes
There are multiple natural and environmental factors that can cause dry eyes and you can read about them here:
- Contact lenses
Prolonged use of contact lenses can affect the flow of natural tears on the eyeballs and may cause the lubricants to spread unevenly. Surgeries done to correct one’s vision can also lead to the symptoms of dry eyes as a result of minor complications. Natural tear production can get affected due to common refractive surgeries and procedures like LASIK.
The natural aging process slowly results in the deterioration of body parts including one’s eyes. Aging can result in reduced tear production thus causing irritation in the eyelids followed by itching and redness.
- Exposure to the elements
Dry climates, high-speed winds, and exposure to particulate pollution or smoke can cause the tears to dry up faster than the natural production of moisture by one’s tear glands. It has been observed that not blinking at regular intervals while working longs hours staring at the computer screen can also contribute to dry eyes.
- Medical conditions
People who are suffering from conditions including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid problems are at high risk of suffering from the symptoms of dry eyes. Inflammation is one of the more common symptoms of multiple medical conditions and also happens to be the primary factor increasing the risk of dry eyes significantly. Blepharitis is a major condition that results in the inflammation of eyelids that can cause dry eyes to develop.
- Side effects of medications
Antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and decongestants are common medications prescribed to treat their respective ailments. However, the side effects of these medications can result in the symptoms of dry eyes developing without warning.
- Hormonal changes
Dry eye is a condition that tends to affect more women than men as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of suffering from the symptoms as hormonal changes can trigger an imbalance in the compounds that make up natural tears. Women using oral contraceptive or going through menopause can also develop the symptoms of dry eyes over time. Medical attention is advisable if the symptoms persist for more than a couple of days to avoid further eye complications that may result in loss of vision.
Blinking will lubricate the eyeball naturally thus eliminating the need for eyes drops to preserve tears. One must also blink regularly while reading or working on the computer screen for long hours. Wear protective eye gear before going outside to reduce the risk of developing dry eyes due to exposure. One must also drink water to stay hydrated as water helps in the production of natural tears.