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Discomfort, redness, gritty sensation in the eye―what if it was simply dry eyes? Here is how to prevent and treat it.
What does dry eye mean?
Tears mainly consist of water and oily substances. They are produced by the lacrimal glands and cover the entire surface of the eye (cornea) through blinking. A thin protective barrier called the “tear film” nourishes the cornea, by helping to moisten and protect it from exterior threats such as foreign particles, bacteria, dust, etc. It also helps to prevent lesions, infections and irritations.
Dry eye occurs when tear production is insufficient or altered, or when tears evaporate too quickly. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms that can sometimes significantly impact quality of life. It is estimated that more than one out of three people are affected by dry eye after the age of 50.
What are the possible symptoms of dry eye?
Some people are unaware that their eyes are dry. Certain signs and symptoms can appear over time, such as:
What are the possible causes of dry eye?
It is normal for your eyes to become more and more dry as you age. That being said, dry eye can occur at any age. It can be promoted or caused by a multitude of factors, including:
How to prevent dry eye
Our modern living habits contribute to the development of dry eye.
How to treat dry eye
Dry eye cannot be “cured”; however, the causes can be eliminated or well controlled. Treatment usually involves easing symptoms with the use of certain products. Applying artificial tears is the preferred measure to relieve dry eyes.
These products come in liquid, ointment or gel format, and most of them are available without a prescription. Since there is a wide range of these products, it is always better to ask your pharmacist for advice before purchasing one. They will help you to choose the one best-suited to your needs.
Artificial tears do not cause dependency or addiction. Therefore, they can be used as a long-term solution without concern. However, here are some important precautions to ensure optimal and safe use of these types of products.
If the measures described in this article are not sufficient to counter dry eye, other treatments can be considered. If you have persistent dry eye, see a doctor or an eye care professional, such as an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for additional information about dry eye and its treatments.
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