Burning, itching, redness and sometimes uncontrollable watering even in a light breeze - dry eyes can be very disruptive. You should take this disorder seriously and join your ophthalmologist in finding an effective treatment.
Dry eyes (keratoconjunctivitis sicca – or KCS) is a syndrome characterised by dryness of the eyes.
Typical symptoms are redness and burning in the eyes, often accompanied by the feeling of something stuck in the eye. These symptoms are often caused by an issue with the tear film. This can present in an insufficient production of lachrymal fluid or the incomplete formation of the tear film.
The tear film is made up of three layers: the mucin layer, the aqueous layer and the lipid layer. In patients with dry eyes, it’s often not the tear ducts, rather the composition of the tear film that is defective.
In most patients, the protective lipid layer is too thin or porous. This means that the tear film evaporates more quickly, and ruptures. The meibomian glads are responsible for forming lipids that are different from the lipids at the edges of the lids. They may become inflamed, provide too much or too little lipid or produce the wrong mixture. The secretion then often blocks the excretory ducts.
The most common causes are poor nutrition, working at a screen (Office Eye Syndrome, Gamer Eye), environmental impact, contact lenses, lack of testosterone in old age, medications such as beta blockers or the pill as well as eye operations like laser eye surgery, cataract surgery or refractive surgery.
If dry eyes are not treated, symptoms will persist and lead to a constant exacerbation of the inflammatory processes in the eye. This forms a kind of vicious cycle, as the inflammatory processes lead to increased dryness, which then fuels the inflammatory processes – until the eyes are permanently damaged in serious cases.