The eyes dry out if the lacrimal fluid does not moisten them enough. This can be for different reasons but quite often dry eyes can be traced to environmental influences such as exhaust gases or dry ambient air.
Dry eyes: description
The lacrimal gland, which constantly produces fresh lacrimal fluid, is located immediately below the upper edge of the eye socket, towards the temple. With the aid of a blink, this liquid is spread evenly like an extremely thin film over the eye. Excess lacrimal fluid is moved to the lacrimal drainage system on the inside of the eyelid margin. This brisk exchange process provides even lubrication of the surface of the eye, optimal supply of nutrients to the cornea and protects the eye from foreign bodies and germs.
If too little lacrimal fluid is produced, or if the amount is sufficient but the composition is wrong, the tear film breaks up. The result is the unpleasant feeling of dry eyes (sicca syndrome).
Environmental influences are the most common cause of dry eyes
Dry eyes are most often traced back to impacts from outside, which have a negative influence on the production and distribution of lacrimal fluid. The following factors have a negative impact on lacrimal fluid and put stress on the eyes:
- The draught from air conditioning systems and dry air from the heating may contribute to rapid evaporation of the tear film.
- Long hours in front of a monitor make the eyes “forget” to blink, which may cause dry eyes.
- Cigarette smoke and UV light can have an adverse effect on the tear film.
- Ozone, fine dust and car exhaust fumes can attack the tear film.
Dry eyes can also have biological causes. Lacrimal fluid production declines with increasing age: around a third of those suffering from dry eyes are over 40 years old. Changes in the status of the female sex hormones also increase the risk of suffering from dry eyes.
A range of medicines can also lead to having dry eyes. These include beta blockers against high blood pressure, sedatives, eye drops with preserving agents and the contraceptive pill.
Symptoms: dry eyes produce these symptoms
People affected complain of different symptoms:
- Red eyes
- Burning eyes
- Foreign body sensation
- Tired eyes
- Sticky eyes
- Watery eyes
- Aching eyes
- Blurred vision
This helps with dry eyes
Eye lubricants in the form of eye drops or eye ointment are used against dry eyes. They stabilise the tear film and therefore extend the time until it breaks up. The lubrication products can be administered to the dry eye as required several times a day. Protective eye ointments are best suited for the night. When purchasing eye lubrication products make sure they do not contain preserving agents. They can encourage the eyes to dry out or provoke allergies.
Lubricating eye drops which support the tear film and are free from preserving agents are best suited for people who suffer from mild, non-permanent symptoms of dry eyes. HYLO FRESH® replenishes lost moistness in tired and stressed eyes and relieves irritation in the eyes which arises from environmental impacts such as dry ambient air, draughts or working at a monitor. The classic HYLO COMOD® is well-suited for moderate forms of dry eyes. These eye drops increase the lubrication of the surface of the eye and provide long-term stabilisation of the tear film.
An option to provide overnight intensive care for dry and stressed eyes is PARIN POS® eye ointment.
Should the symptoms of dry eyes persist, despite regular application of lubricating eye drops or eye ointments, and there is no improvement, you should immediately consult an eye doctor. They can clarify if there is a serious eye disease behind the symptoms.
Prevent dry eyes – avoid environmental influences
There is a range of things you can do to prevent dry eyes alongside the use of lubricating eye drops and ointments. Just follow these simple rules:
- Try to avoid the draught from air-conditioning. When travelling by car, you should also ensure that the blower is not aimed directly at your eyes.
- Avoid cigarette smoke.
- If you work for several hours a day at a computer, you should regularly give your eyes a break. It’s a good idea to look out of the window every now and and blink repeatedly for at least ten seconds in order to moisten your eyes with lacrimal fluid.
- Make sure you have fresh air in the room. It is enough to ventilate every hour.
- It is important to drink sufficient amounts of liquids – at least two litres a day.
- Contact lens wearers should take care not to leave their contact lenses in their eyes for too long, as they can also have a dehydrating effect. One possible form of relief could be, for example, wearing spectacles instead of contact lenses when working at a PC. Also, make sure that you clean your contact lenses conscientiously and store them properly. That is the only way to enjoy using them.