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Very often we feel that there is a grain of sand in our eyes, or the eyes may burn or itch without reason, then you may be having dry eyes. A person may be sensitive to light, have blurry vision or in some cases even the eyes will water. Such people will not be able to wear contact lens.

Eyes usually need moisture and this helps the eyes work like they are meant to and keeps them feeling comfortable. The body automatically produces moisture for the eyes, but when it is unable to do so or cannot produce enough or of good quality then your eyes is prone to hurt and feel dry.

What does tears do?

Tears actually soothe the surface of the eyes and safeguard them from foreign bodies and infections. Every time you blink, the tear drops wash over the eyes and then drain into the inner corners of the eyelids and to the back of the nose. If these tears are not enough and of good quality then eyes get dry.

Dry eye syndrome

When the body does not produce enough of quality tears then you have dry eyes and this condition is called the dry eye syndrome or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). There could be many reasons for dry eyes and it can last for days and it can also go away on its own too.

What are the possible causes?

There are several possible causes which can include the following:

Age: The glands that make tears slowly stop working as well as they did, as you age. With age your eyelids also sag and that breaks the seal against the eyeball to keep the moisture int.

Illness: Certain autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks any part of the body can affect your body’s ability to make tears and cause dry eyes. Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are such conditions which can hinder tear production.

Eye Surgery:  Dry eyes can occur as a result of an eye surgery like LASIK or PRK, which is done to correct the vision. The nerves that make tears are sometimes damaged during these surgeries. Some eye drops and medicines help during post-operative period and it gets better as the eyes recover.

Oil less tears: If the tears don’t have enough of oil in them then they easily get evaporated or get absorbed in the air. The eyes will not get time to moisten and hence cause dry eye.

Medicines: Certain medicine for dry eyes such as antihistamines, beta-blockers and some anti depressants can affect the tears and dry out the eyes.

How dry eyes get worse?

Low Humidity: There are many reasons including low humidity as in an air-conditioned room or airplane then the eye gets dried. This condition can happen if there is lot of wind in your eyes too.

Too much Screen Time: When you look at a computer or phone screen for long hours then you don’t blink much and thus moisture does not get distributed in your eyes and they remain dry.

Contact Lens: When you wear a contact lens, then it is placed exactly in the tear film. If the eye is dry then the contact lens worn for long hours will cause irritation and an uncomfortable feel.

How can you avoid dry eyes?

You can take certain steps to avoid dry eyes. You can use artificial tears which is available in as drops or ointment. You can also enrich your diet with more of omega 3 fatty acid rich diet and take all precaution like staying away from air-conditoned rooms, wind, smoke and chemicals that irritate the eyes.