If you face from persistent irritation of the eyes, it is perhaps time you took corrective action.
Shreya Gulati, 32, works for a travel portal.
Her job requires her to work on a computer for at least eight hours a day.
Gulati has a 6/6 vision, or what is called normal vision.
For the past few weeks, her eyes have been itching a bit and occasionally turn red.
When she consulted a doctor, she was told she had developed a condition called dry eyes -- a problem that ails a lot of people today.
Dry eyes, also known as the dry eye syndrome, refers to a condition in which a person's eyes are unable to produce a sufficient amount or quality of tears essential to keep them moisturised.
Tears help in lubricating the eyes and are needed for a clear vision.
Persistent irritation in the eyes is the primary indicator of dry eyes.
Apart from irritation, the person might also have a gritty or burning sensation, red eyes and experience discomfort while looking at bright objects.
Aging is considered to be the most common cause of the dry eye syndrome. But there are many other reasons, too.
Many a time, dry eyes are the after-effect of continued medication, illness, extreme humidity, smoking and over exposure to gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and computers.
Other than that, people who spend a lot of time in air-conditioned rooms, especially when the air is directly blown on the eyes, are also vulnerable.
Their tear film gets dried and over time, this might lead to dry eyes.
Besides the elderly, women are more likely to develop this syndrome compared to men.
People who sleep with their eyes partially open can also develop dry eyes.
If you experience any symptom related to dry eyes, immediately consult an eye specialist.
Your doctor might recommend certain lubricating eye drops, artificial tearing drops or gels.
There are certain eye drops that cannot be used if you wear contact lenses. So, it is better that you consult your doctor first.
In some extreme cases of dry eyes, a surgery might be advised in which a tiny lubricating component is placed inside the lower eyelid. This helps in releasing artificial tears.
If this conditions remains untreated, several complications like infection of the cornea and development of small ulcers might occur.
- Invest in a good pair of UV-protected sunglasses and wear these whenever you go out in the sun
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink a lot of water and eat fibre-rich fruits and vegetables such as cucumber and watermelon, high in water content
- Avoid sitting in an air-conditioned room for a long time, and if you have to, don't sit directly in front of the air-conditioner
- Limit your use of smartphones and computers
- Quit smoking. It is a leading cause of dry eyes.
The author Rajeev Jain is eye surgeon and director, Save Sight Centre, New Delhi.
Photograph: Sara V/Creative Commons