Although it is currently difficult to prevent dry eye, Jorge Vila Arteaga, an ophthalmologist at Innova Ocular Clínica Villa (Valencia), advises the following measures:
Follow a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids and low in omega 6. Maintain a correct posture and distance in front of the computer and rest your eyes frequently by looking into the distance instead of the screen. If suffering from an eye disease or undergoing eye surgery, strictly follow the indicated treatment and even prolong it if the specialist recommends it. Avoid excessively dry environments or in which air conditioning or heating is used frequently. Do not smoke and avoid indirect tobacco smoke and direct wind.
Benítez del Castillo distinguishes three types:
Aqueous-deficient dry eye. It is because the eye makes little tears. It is, in principle, with artificial tears, "which are not at all similar to natural ones, or with anti-inflammatory treatments, such as cyclosporine, which stimulates tear production. Corticosteroids can also be applied, but for the short term because they can cause side effects, such as cataracts, high eye pressure…", adds Benítez del Castillo. Evaporative dry eye. It is the most common type of dry eye and occurs due to a lack of the adequate lipid layer of the tear. "The meibomian glands produce that fat. When they do not work properly, blepharitis occurs. If this layer of fat does not exist, although the lacrimal gland produces a good amount of tear, it will evaporate when the eyes are open", concludes the ophthalmologist. I mixed dry eyes.
There is no gold standard (reference) test for dry eye. Therefore, specialists rely on various tests to diagnose this disease, divided into symptoms (those mentioned by the patient) and signs (those seen by the ophthalmologist in consultation).
Tests for the diagnosis of dry eye syndrome may include visual acuity tests and measurement of tear film breakdown time (BUT test), tear concentration, or tear rate—tear production (Schirmer’s test). The ophthalmologist also usually performs a slit lamp examination and a corneal stain. There are many more tests.
Before the first manifestations of the disease, the treatment consists of applying artificial tears that replace the natural tear. They are drops that coat the ocular surface to protect the eye and keep it hydrated. At present, there are artificial tears of different compositions, for example, of hyaluronic acid. The ophthalmologist is the one who must recommend the most appropriate for each patient.
“Cyclosporine ophthalmic is the drug used to treat chronic dry eye, as it does not have general side effects. It is an anti-inflammatory that treats the root of dry eye. Once treatment with this drug is started, it may take a month or a month and a half to start working, and before that, it can cause a burning sensation and redness, “explains Benítez del Castillo.
Even for cases with severe symptoms that do not respond to other treatments, there is the option of using eye drops made from the patient’s blood, called autologous serum or plasma rich in growth factor (PRGF) drops. These blood derivatives have an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect.
Suppose the symptoms worsen and small erosions or ulcerations appear. In that case, it is necessary to resort to the implantation of lacrimal plugs that prevent the evacuation of tears, thus providing the necessary moisture in the eye.
Dry eye treatment
When preventive measures fail or cannot be followed, drugs can help fix the problem. “The main treatment for dry eyes is artificial tears. It is a substitute treatment; that is, as our natural tear cannot properly protect the ocular surface, a few drops of substances are applied that coat and keep the eye in better condition. One of these substances is, for example, hyaluronic acid”, explains Vila. There are different types of artificial tears with different densities and compositions; It is advisable to go to the ophthalmologist to know the most indicated in each case.
When the tears are not enough, it is necessary to apply other treatments such as the patient’s serum eye drops, which have a series of properties that improve the conditions of the eye.
It is common to think that tears are just water, but they are much more than that: when they are spilled on the surface of our eye, they form a film that consists of 3 layers, each one with a different function:
A layer of fat: it is the outermost part of the tear, and its main function is to soften the ocular surface and reduce the evaporation of tears A layer of water or middle aqueous layer: cleanses and flushes the eye of external agents A layer of mucus - the innermost of all layers. It helps the watery layer to spread evenly over the surface of the eye and maintains its hydration.
An alteration of this tear layer gives rise to the appearance of SOS, causing discomfort and affecting the visual quality of the person suffering from it. The disease can appear both due to a deficit in the number of tears and its poor quality.
What are your causes?
The causes behind the dry eye are multiple and varied: they range from age to facial nerve paralysis, through hormonal changes, environmental factors, prolonged reading periods, neural injuries, radiation therapy …
Certain drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and those used to control blood pressure can cause dry eyes.
What are the most common symptoms of SOS?
In addition to the irritation, pain, and burning that we have referred to in the introduction, dry eye presents a wide variety of quite annoying symptoms:
Many of the people who suffer from it say that it is like having a kind of grit in the eye Blurry vision Light sensitive eyes Feeling of fatigue in the eyelids, especially at the end of the day or after a long period of reading. Continuous tearing: although it may be paradoxical, our body protects itself from this dryness by flooding the eye with low-quality tears, which do not provide the necessary nutrients or protectors.