Dry eye syndrome is caused by a decrease in the production of tears. The symptoms are multiple: stinging, a sensation of sand in the eyes, and stuck eyelids. Most often, this condition is linked to age. We speak of dry eyes when the quantity and/or quality of tears is insufficient.
Tears are permanently produced by the lacrimal glands and then spread over the entire surface of the eye by the blinking of the eyelids. Tears are mainly composed of water and fatty substances and act as a fine barrier in front of the cornea. They protect the cornea from external aggressions (dust, bacteria) and moisten and nourish it, thus preventing it from becoming infected and/or damaged.
Dry eyes cause visual discomfort and can sometimes lead to corneal irritation and eye infections.
What are the symptoms of dry eyes?
Dry eyes can manifest themselves in several ways
- Tingling, itching, burning, sandy or foreign body sensation in the eyes;
- Sensitivity to light or wind;
- Difficulty opening the eyes in the morning, a sensation of stuck eyelids;
- Increased need to blink;
- Absence of tears in situations known to trigger their secretion: during emotion, peeling onions... and on the contrary, presence of a tear in the wind, cold, reading;
- Impression of seeing less well or feeling of eye fatigue;
- Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
The repercussion in daily life is often important: reduction of the time of reading, use of a computer, difficulties to drive.
Factors of dry eyes
15% of people over the age of 60 suffer from dry eyes. Tear production becomes less abundant as we age because the lacrimal glands atrophy. This decrease is aggravated by hormonal changes related to menopause in women and andropause in men.
Pollution, dry or air-conditioned air, prolonged use of the computer, and wind, can also dry out the eyes, especially when these factors are combined.
The medications used to relieve dry eyes are topical treatments, i.e., administered directly into the eyes. They are available in different formulations: solutions, suspensions, gels, and ointments. These products replace tear fluid and temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms by "replacing" the lubricating action of tears, which the eyes no longer produce sufficiently.
Even if you don't feel like you're running out of tears, we recommend a comprehensive eye exam with your trusted optometrist to diagnose eye diseases that may occur with age.
To schedule an eye exam, click here.