Thursday, November 11, 2010
DRY EYE SYNDROME
One of the most common eye problems encountered particularly by women post menopause is the dry eye syndrome. One of the important signs of the syndrome is constantly having red and painful eyes. Eyes have tear glands and the function of the tear glands is to produce tears. Tear is a lubricating agent that lubricates the eyes particularly the cornea. Cornea is the most transparent part of the body and it does not contain blood vessels. The cornea is nourished mainly via the lymphatic vessels. The cornea requires Oxygen and it obtains the oxygen required from the oxygen that is contained in the tears that lubricate the cornea. In order to keep the cornea constantly nourished by oxygen, the cornea has to be continuously lubricated by the tears. The tear glands continuously produce tears and thus the cornea is continuously being lubricated. The tear glands are located in the upper temporal area and when they secrete tears, the tears will fall straight down to the lower lids to form the tear river. When the eyes lids are closed, the lids will touch the tear river. When the eye lids move upward, the tears will be carried upward by the eye lids. Through this action, the whole cornea surfaces become lubricated by the tears. Blinking acts in the opposite way of the car windscreen wipers. While the wipers make the windscreen dry, blinking lubricates the human eyes particularly the Cornea.
The process of closing and opening of the eyes by the eye lids is known as blinking. A normal person blinks an average about 16 times a minute. People tend to blink less than normal when he or she is concentrating or looking at a close object such as reading from the computer screen or reading small prints from a book or a newspaper. When the blink rate is less than normal, the eyes will not be adequately lubricated and as a result the eyes will become red and painful. In this particular case, the symptoms of pain and redness are only encountered when the person is constantly gazing at an object and the symptoms will disappear once the person begins to blinks normally. Those who regularly sit in front of computer screens for prolonged period often encounter such symptoms. The symptoms will disappear once we blink more often than usual or when we use additional lubricant known as artificial tear or eye drops. The artificial tear will help to lubricate the eyes just like the naturally produced tears. When our eyes are exposed to excessive heat or wind, the tear layer covering the cornea will become dry and the cornea become suffocated. Once the cornea became suffocated, the blood vessels in the conjunctiva will become swollen and the conjunctiva will looks red. Suffocation of the cornea causes blood capillaries in the conjunctiva to swell as the body is trying to supply the cornea with more oxygen. When the cornea fail to receive adequate supply of oxygen, within minutes the cornea will develop dry spots. The presence of dry spots in the cornea causes pain to the eyes. When the cornea continues to be deprived of oxygen, the cornea will develop scars and edema. Once the cornea becomes edematous, the vision will become blurry, and the eyes become red and painful.
Such condition should not be allowed to happen to our eyes. Once you have symptoms of eye pain, you should get your eyes examined either by an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist. You should not go to the Opticians. There are many causes of eye pain but one of the most frequent causes of eye pain is the dry eyes syndrome. Cornea is the most transparent and the most sensitive part of human body. Any sensation of pain to the eyes often involves the cornea. The symptoms of eye pain must be taken seriously. Allah has made the cornea to be the most sensitive organ and its sensitiveness in itself is a blessing. The most common treatment strategy for dry eyes syndrome is the application of artificial tears to the eyes. Anyone can buy artificial tears over the counter from a pharmacy. It does not need any prescription from a doctor to buy artificial tears. In case you are wearing contact lenses, any slight sensation of pain to the eyes should not be taken lightly and you are advised not to continue wearing your contact lenses. You should immediately consult your optometrists or ophthalmologists. You may have other problems than the dry eyes.
I have treated many patients in the past that suffer from the dry eye syndrome. Many have been cured from the disease and my most recent patient that has been cured from the disease is my Deputy Vice Chancellor. I was very delighted with the positive result of the treatment as she has been suffering from the disease for many years. She has been depending on artificial tears for so long and now she doesn’t have to use it anymore.
Dr. Nasoha Saabin
Dean of Faculty of Optometry
International University College of Technology Twintech
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia