Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve and reduced visual acuity, with the main cause being increased eye pressure. The diagnosis is made by the ophthalmologist through specific eye exams. It is a silent disease that does not show symptoms in its early stages and mainly affects people over 40 years old.
With an aging population and longer life expectancy, the incidence of glaucoma is increasing, recent estimates suggest that 111,8 millions of people will be affected by 2040. As it is a chronic optic neuropathy, its clinical characteristics and prognosis require the patient to be committed to the treatment, which tends to be prolonged.
Early diagnosis of glaucoma is extremely important for the treatment of the disease and prevention of blindness, and eye drops are the most commonly used drugs to lower intraocular pressure. It is important to emphasize that recent studies report that the use of eye drops in the long term generates a high prevalence of signs and symptoms of dry eye due to their active components and preservatives, which can affect the ocular surface.
Dry eye is a multifactorial and chronic disease that affects the ocular surface and the tear film. In it, there is presence of a low quality and small amount of tear fluid, which generates ocular discomfort, reduced visual acuity, pain, burning sensation and foreign body and photophobia.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Dry Eye
The diagnosis of Dry Eye Syndrome is made through a complete ophthalmological examination and the treatment will depend on its cause. Treatment may not be able to completely resolve dry eye, with the main objectives of alleviating symptoms and improving the patient’s quality of life. Most treatments use artificial tears, gels and ointments. These medications replace the tear film, in addition to reducing environmental risk factors, such as excessive exposure to computer screens and cell phones. For
better treatment results, one should also discontinue the use of medications that bring this condition as a risk.
Symptoms of Dry Eye:
Dry eye can be classified into two types: dry eye with reduced tear production (aqueous deficiency) and dry eye with increased evaporation of the tear film or in some cases as a combination of the two.
Both types cause the same symptoms, which usually affect both eyes. The symptoms are:
- Hypersensitivity to light;
- Foreign body sensation;
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses;
- Difficulty driving a vehicle at night;
- Blurred vision;
- eye fatigue;
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye occurs due to numerous risk factors such as age, sex, different medications, comorbidities, in addition to certain behaviors adopted by individuals in their daily lives5.
Below are some of the environmental elements that can influence the increase in the rate of evaporation of the tear film, which is an important precursor of dry eyes:
- High altitude;
- Strong winds;
- Environment pollution;
- Low humidity;
- Sunlight and radiation;
Below are some of the most common intrinsic factors related to the incidence of dry eye:
- Hormonal changes;
- Systemic diseases.
Dry eye prevention and eye care
Omega 3 helps lubricate and helps fight dry eye syndrome;
Raw garlic reduces eye pressure by having a vasodilator effect;
Vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants and fight free radicals and eye aging.
Avoid blowing air directly into the eyes: Do not point hair dryers, air conditioners or fans directly into the eyes.
Avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages: Although alcoholic beverages are metabolized by the liver, they produce toxic residues, which favors the premature aging of eye cells. Also, alcohol causes dehydration, also affecting the eyes.
Don’t be careless during dry weather: Low air humidity causes irritation, burning and eye redness, by aggravating tear evaporation. Fans and air conditioners should be avoided as they further dry out the eyes.
Take breaks from long, tiring tasks: If you’re reading or doing other tasks that require visual concentration, take regular breaks. Close
eyes for a few minutes or blink repeatedly for a few seconds so that the tears can spread evenly over the eyes.
Sunglasses with UV protection: Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, wind and air impurities;
Avoid smoking: If you smoke, talk to your doctor about developing a quit smoking strategy. If you don’t smoke, stay away from people who smoke.
Drink lots of water: It’s easy to become dehydrated, especially in the summer when it’s really hot outside. Dehydration impairs the body’s natural ability to produce tears. Adequate hydration promotes normal tear production and prevents dry eyes.
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