What Can I Do about this Dry Eye Problem?
Hui SHENG, Section Chief of Eye Clinic, Ophthalmologist
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes are unable to generate enough tears or when the components of the tear film are altered, causing the tears to evaporate (disappear) too quickly. This can make your eyes feel dry and irritating.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
Meibomian gland disfuncion due to aging, long-term contact lenses wear, recurrent allergic conjunctivitis, long-term use of anti-glaucoma eyedrops, autoimmune diseases, and overuse of electronic products is a typical cause of dry eye syndrome.
What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?
There are many symptoms, including but not limited to:
Dry or burning sensation of the eyes; Red eyes; Photophobia (light sensitivity); Foreign body sensation; Blurred vision; Excessive tearing; Discomfort with contact lens wear.
Some people may experience worsening symptoms when the weather is cold or windy, or when they are in a dry environment.
Should I see a doctor?
If your eyes have been red, irritated, or painful for several days, you should see a doctor. Mild to moderate dry eye syndrome has become the most common ocular surface disease that affects people’s productivity and quality of life, and severe dry eye disease can lead to visual impairment, and even cause blindness.
What kind of tests do I need?
The doctor will make an assessment with a slit-lamp examination, and specific tear-related evaluations, including tear meniscus height, tear break-up time, and meibography.
How is dry eye syndrome treated?
“Artificial tear” eye drops are commonly used to treat dry eye syndrome. This can keep the eyes moist and help relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, but will not cure the disease.
Meibomian gland expression is an effective treatment for dry eye syndrome caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. Completing a course of treatment can effectively improve the symptoms of dry eyes and have a relatively long-term result. Your doctor will make a personalized treatment plan for you based on clinical finding.
If you want to understand the relationship between eibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye syndrome, please refer to this article from Dr. Sheng Hui, section chief of Shanghai United Family Hospital’s Eye Clinic:
To help patients to find relief from the irritation of dry eye sydrome, Shanghai United Family Hospital Eye Clinic will launch a meibomian gland expression package soon, which includes 4 courses of meibomian gland expression.
Details of the package will be introduced in the future article.