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Signs and symptoms of dry eyes:
1. A scratchy, burning and a stinging sensation in the eyes
2. Mucous surrounding the eyes
3. Sensitivity to light
4. Redness of the eyes
5. A feeling that something is stuck in the eyes
6. Problems in wearing contact lenses
7. Vision problems, especially while driving at night
8. Watery eyes caused due to the irritation that stems from dry eyes
9. Blurred vision
What are the causes?
1. Tears are a mix of fatty oils, water and mucus. This combination safeguards your eyes from any sort of infection in addition to keeping your ocular surface (the cornea surface) clear and smooth. Your eyes dry up if the tear ducts do not produce enough tears; medically, this condition is termed keratoconjunctivitis sicca . It can occur due to:
Certain medical complications such as Sjogren s Syndrome (a medical condition marked by dry eyes and a dry mouth) arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorders and deficiency of Vitamin A among a few others
Side effects of certain medications such as anti-depressants, acne medications, birth control medications and medicines to control high blood pressure
Laser eye surgery or damage caused to the tear gland due to exposure to radiation or inflammation
2. Increased drying up or evaporation of the tears caused due to exposure to various kinds of smoke, dry air or wind, less of blinking while focusing on any particular activity or an object and eye lid problems such as in-turning of the eyelids (entropion) and out-turning of the eyelids (ectropion) can contribute to this irritating condition.
3. Imbalance in any of the layers constituting a tear film (made of oil, mucus and water) might lead to this condition.
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Blurred vision is most often a sign that you need corrective spectacles for near sightedness, far sightedness or astigmatism but it could also be a sign of a bigger problem including eye diseases or neurological problems. Blurred vision involves the loss of sharpness of vision and objects appearing hazy and out of focus. It can affect one eye or both eyes simultaneously.
Whatever be your age, it is a good idea to consult a doctor as you begin to experience a blurred vision. To measure the extent of your vision problem, a doctor will do a comprehensive eye examination including spatial contrast sensitivity and a standard eye chart test.
Some of the factors that trigger blurred vision are:
- Myopia or nearsightedness
- Hypermetropia or farsightedness
- Astigmatism caused by an irregularly shaped cornea
- Presbyopia - the diminished ability to focus on objects due to the hardening of the lens in the eye
- Dry eyes or the lack of lubrication on the surface of the eyes
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy
- Migraine headaches
- Temporary floaters in the eye formed by the liquefying of the gel in the eyes
- After effects of Lasik surgery
- Eye drops or medication
- Overuse of contact lenses
Blurred vision can also be a symptom of a serious condition such as cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cardiovascular diseases.
Treatment for blurred vision depends on the factors triggering it. Wearing corrective glasses can cure blurred vision caused by myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. These conditions can also be treated by Lasik surgery. For blurred vision related to diabetes, check your blood sugar and get it into its optimal range.
Exercises for the eye muscles can also help sharpen vision and lower the rate of eye muscle degeneration. Some of these exercises are:
- Alternately focus on an object close to you and another far from you for ten seconds each.
- Blink your eyes and hold for two seconds
- Roll your eyes clockwise and anticlockwise. Repeat 15-20 times.
- Rub your palms together to generate heat and place over your eyes to relax them.
A healthy diet with plenty of vitamin A can help keep your eyes healthy and prevent blurring of vision. Wearing sunglasses can also protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation and lower their rate of wear and tear. Lastly avoid reading in moving vehicles and holding a book too close to your face.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.