Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eyes occur due to lack of tears being produced or the quality of the tear is suboptimal. There may be inflammatory cells within the tears, and because of this inflammation, (that cannot be seen unless under a microscope), the tears may not stick to the surface of the sclera or the cornea.
The eye depends on a constant flow of tears to maintain lubrication and comfort. When the eye becomes dry, this can be a source of irritation. Dry eye syndrome is a common and often painful condition that can cause damage to the cornea and harm vision. People who wear contact lenses often suffer from dry eye syndrome, as do many of those who undergo laser procedures to correct their vision. Women going through menopause also frequently develop this condition. There are many causes for dry eye syndrome and I have listed them below.
Symptoms include burning, pain, irritation, blurred vision, and the most common symptom of dry eyes is excess tearing as the eyes try to compensate for the dryness.
- Dry eye syndrome can be caused by Vitamin A deficiency.
- Intake of too much Red Meat (Omega 6 fatty acids)
- Fatigue or Lack of sleep.
- Demodex (Eyelash mites) or Blepharitis (chronic inflammation of the eyelid) can possibly cause dry eyes.
- Exposure to many environmental conditions that have a drying effect, such as a dry climate, sun exposure, wind, high altitude, cigarette smoke, hot blowing air and the dry air that commonly occurs in the cabins of commercial airplanes.
- Those who wear contact lenses or who have had LASIK treatment can have dry eyes
- Medications that can cause dry eyes include diuretics, antihistamines and decongestants, certain sleeping pills, tricyclic antidepressants, and isotretinoin-type drugs for treatment of acne.
- Allergies can also cause dry eye and it is medically known as Allergic Conjunctivitis. The allergic reaction can result in dry eyes, or the dust, mold, or mildew or dander that triggered the allergies can cause dye eye
- Eye Drops are a little known culprit behind dry eyes. Eye drops that have preservatives or methylcellulose in them can actually cause allergic eye reaction that can dry out the eyes.
- Estrogen Deficiency and dry eye are usually linked because of menopause or a hysterectomy. These conditions can either cause dry eye or make an existing condition worse.
What keeps the eye Moist?
Hyaluronic acid (HA, hyaluronan) is a special protein that exists naturally in all living organisms. In the human body, it is found in greatest concentrations in the synovial fluid of articular joints for lubrication, the vitreous humor (fluid) of the eye, and most abundantly in the skin. Hyaluronic acid is known for its beneficial effects on patients suffering from dry eye syndrome. Applied to the surface of the eye, it reduces the symptoms and damage associated with dry eye. Hyaluronic acid makes up 95% of the fluid inside the eye. Acts as a shock absorber for the eye and also serves to transport nutrients into the eye. HA plays a major role in maintaining the health of ocular tissues such as the cornea, the retina, and the vitreous fluid that fills the inside of the eye. It is been said that after the 5th decade of life, the eye has lost 50% of its ability to product the needed HA. Without out HA, we fail to have proper eye health.
- Increase Omega 3 fatty acids, and decrease intake of Omega 6 fatty acids (as found in red meats)
- Good sources of omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and cod liver oil, as well as certain nuts. Also, Flaxseed oil is recommended for the relief of dry eye symptoms due to it’s high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Flax seed oil should always be taken orally – never applied directly to the eye.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger. It is also known as a preventative of degenerative conditions, including cataracts. Foods that contain ascorbic acid are citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, green peppers, potatoes, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, watermelon, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, guava, pineapple, cantaloupe, and sweet red pepper.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Vitamin B2 is essential for energy and in the production of antibodies. Deficiencies in riboflavin are characterized by corneal vascularization, among other things.
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate , taken together, have reportedly improved the symptoms of dry eye also. Chondroitin is a constituent of the eye drops used during cataract removal. People who are allergic to shell fish, however, should not take these supplements. (CosaminDS is a brand name that has both and can be purchased at Costco)
- Honey: For extreme dryness make a solution of one part honey and ten parts of water. Keep this chilled and put two drops in each eye every night before going to sleep. This will give some burning feeling and your eyes will start giving tears. Tears are helpful for curing this ailment. Tears will take care of this problem of dry eyes. Do not worry about burning, it will subside in a few minutes. After this, clean your eyes with cold water.
- Damp Wash cloth: Close the eyes to place a damp wash cloth in warm water over the eyes for five to fifteen minutes to get relief from this ailment Repeat this by re wetting the cloth in warm water to be placed over the eyes. This may be repeated as many times as is required. It can help to open the clogged oil glands in the eyes to restore moisture in the eyes to cure this disease immediately.
Essential Oil Help:
Keeping the body hydrated will in turn help keep the eyes hydrated and moist.
Lavender Essential oil is beneficial to rejuvenate and assist in cell regrowth, as well as moisturize. Its considered to have antiseptic and analgesic properties which can prevent infection and promote rapid healing.
In the case of Demodex (Eyelash mites) or Blepharitis (chronic inflammation of the eyelid) the use of Tea Tree oil should be used to reducing the amount of bacteria on the eyelids and give the meibomian glands a chance to regain their function.
- Mix together 1 drop Tea Tree essential oil to 1 drop Carrier oil. ( 1:1 or 50% dilution)
- Dip a Q-tip into the diluted mixture and carefully apply a layer over the top of each eyelid.
- Be sure to avoid getting into the eye, itself. Flush the eye with carrier oil, not water, if Tea Tree comes in contact with the eye.