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Dry eyes are a common phenomenon that develops when the tears do not provide sufficient moisture to your eyes. This may also be the result of inadequate production of tears by the tear ducts. This condition cannot be cured permanently; however, treatments usually help.
Signs and symptoms of dry eyes:
1. A scratchy, stinging and a burning 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. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ophthalmologist.