Dry eye syndrome
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Tear film dysfunction triggers dry eye syndrome, which is a common ocular disease, caused to people of different age groups. However, the reasons for dry eye syndrome have been recognized, but its association with ocular allergy is still unknown.

What is dry eye?

When there is insufficient tear formation in your eyes, it leads to ocular disorders. This abnormal condition of the eye can be referred to as 'dry eye'. A more distinct explanation would be that, the problem is induced by abnormalities in the tear production or inadequate stability of the tear film, causing damage to the tear surface. This, as a result encourages an itchy or drying sensation to the anterior component of the eye. Hence, these signs and symptoms can be attributed to the condition of dry eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome and Allergy

Tear film dysfunction and dry eye syndrome are synonymous. There are three common defects associated with the dry eye syndrome. Improper tear composition, excessive tear evaporation and abnormality in lipid components or mucin in the tear production are the three common defects of the dry eye syndrome.

Several factors contribute to the causes of eye dryness. Female gender, chronic medication use, hormone replacement therapy can generate tear film dysfunction. Cytological methods have detected that DES is closely associated with ocular surface inflammation.

The dry eyes symptoms are more common among women than in men (with a ratio of 2:1), who are usually aged above 51 years of age. Similar studies on eye dryness have been conducted by many states, worldwide. An Australian survey revealed that around 60 percent of patients aged 50 or above, were victims of dry eye symptoms, whereas 16 percent of people had moderate to severe symptoms.

Ocular surface irritation or dry eye symptom can be attributed to many other long-term factors. A history of arthritis, gout or usage of corticosteroids, antidepressants can lead to eye dryness. Atopy is considered a serious factor for eye irritation.

It has also been found that indoor air problems in large corporate buildings, can bring upon eye problems, especially eye itching and dryness. Actually, what happens is that too much exposure to dust particles shrinks the tear film break up time. Studies have shown that nonindustrial office dust causes sensory symptoms in eyes and thus contribute to allergy.

The Treatments for a Dry Eye

Until recently, researchers have not been able to find any pharmacological treatments for DES. However, there are many dry eye treatments, which have brought stupendous effect on the ocular surface. These have been listed as below:

  • The therapeutic options are the best for the treatment of eye dryness, depending upon the severity of the syndrome. In some cases, the doctors may need to treat the underlying eyelid diseases, or have to modify the environmental conditions of the ocular surface. This can heal any ocular disorders.
  • Recent Japanese studies have shown an easy technique of healing the problem. Warming of the eye can bring in great improvements even to the worst eye condition. A kind of warming device can be used for meibomian gland dysfunction or correcting the tear breakup time.
  • The over-the counter tear supplements can bring instant relief to the itchy parts, by providing moisturization to the ocular surface. The chemicals of the supplements combine with the patient's tear layer to render protection. Recently, a new supplement has been developed, which contains propylene glycol demulcents and polymers of polythelene glycol 400, with polymer hydroxypropyl gear, which acts as the gelling agent to protect the ocular surface environment. The whole treatment is very effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of the dry eye.
  • The first and only therapy to be approved by FDA for DES victims is the topical cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion. This particular treatment targets those whose tear production is suppressed due to ocular inflammation. The therapy is used to heal the lymphocytic inflammatory response associated with DES that occurs on the ocular surface or the lacrimal glands in patients with 'inflammatory'.
  • Recently, many experiments are conducted to produce tear substitutes like colustrum. This is best in treating conjunctival disorder. Oral cyclosporine A (CsA), is used in treatment of severe ocular disorders, which incorporates DES along with other eye problems. This is a topical treatment and deters the possibility of side effects.

Nonetheless, the ocular treatments are many. However, the unique new topical treatments are apt for treating those patients with DES, which can be in the primary or secondary stage associated with ocular allergy.

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