Redness, irritation, and foreign body sensation in the eye are the most common complaints in the eye clinic. While these symptoms can be caused by a lot of diseases, the most common by far is dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome was a rare disease about a decade ago, but with the increasing usage of computers and smartphones, it is on the increase. Increasing pollution in the urban areas and excessive usage of air conditioning also contribute to dry eye syndrome.
When a person uses computers or smartphones continuously for long durations of time, the tears in the eye gradually evaporate. Normally a person blinks about 20 times in a minute, but during computer and mobile phone use, the blink rate decreases to once or twice a minute. This reduces the replenishment of the evaporated tears and causes dry eye syndrome.
Air conditioning also removes moisture from the skin and eyes and leads to dry eye syndrome. The pollutants present in automobile exhaust are also toxic to the tear film of the eye. Hence two-wheel riders who don’t use protective goggles or use helmets without visors are at risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
People using computers and mobile phones must be careful to follow the 20 20 20 20 rule. This means they should hold the device 20 cm from the eye and take a break of 20 seconds every 20 minutes, and look at any object 20 feet away. And should blink 20 times every minute. Air conditioning should be frequently switched off and should never blow directly on to face, whether in cars or at home or in the office.
Lubrication eye drops like “Lubrex” is available over the counter without any prescription and can be used to lubricate the eyes. But be careful that you are not given any antibiotics or steroid eye drops without the advice of an eye doctor.
Sometimes dry eye syndrome can be due to certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disturbance, and diabetes. Therefore it is important to check for the presence of any of these diseases by consulting with a doctor.
Dry eye syndrome can also occur as a side effect of certain medicines, primarily medicines used to treat depression, sedative tablets, and certain medicines used to treat high blood pressure. If this is the cause, then alternative medicines should be prescribed.
Dry eye syndrome in children who spend long hours watching TV or playing games on their mobile phones is more dangerous because the constant hand rubbing of the eyes in small children leads to a disease called keratoconus which can produce glass power and eventually thinning and bulging of the cornea leading to blindness.
This condition is on the rise nowadays mainly because of excessive TV and mobile phone usage. See how a lifestyle flaw is leading to a major health problem, mainly in the young adults who are the future of this country. Please enjoy TV and mobile phones and use computers judiciously so that our eyes are not damaged, and we can have a healthy nation.
If you observe any of the above symptoms in your vision or realise that you might be at risk of Dry Eyes, please visit our hospital as soon as possible. We will check your eyes and suggest you the best way to treat any problem you may have. Book an appointment with us now.