“The dry eye disease”

VISION MATTERS

Have your eyes experienced a burning sensation, crusty feeling, tearing and itchiness? If yes, you may be suffering from Dry Eye Disease.

Dry Eye Disease (DED) is not just any ordinary eye disease. As defined by the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II) it is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface characterized by a loss of homeostasis of the tear film, and accompanied by ocular symptoms, in which tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, ocular surface inflammation and damage, and neurosensory abnormalities play etiological roles.

Smoking, certain medications, contact lens wear are just some risk factors of DED. Having DED affects our daily activities, reduced vitality and often depression. It is also associated with significant pain every time we blink. To diagnose DED, Optometrists usually perform non-invasive techniques to test the quality and quantity of your tears. To make sure that your eyes are healthy, request for a comprehensive eye exam (CEE) at all times.

According to the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society Dry Eye Workshop II (TFOS DEWS II), one of the most compelling features of DED is that it occurs more frequently in women than in men. Female sex is a significant risk factor in developing DED. Sex-related differences directly or indirectly influence numerous physiological and pathological functions in the body. Other factors include smoking, certain medications, and contact lens wear. Symptoms are usually itchiness, burning sensation, sandy sensation and tearing.

When your eyes are dry, never rub them as this will result in another eye damage. With sufficient evidencebased information, management and therapy are now readily available. Since we have 2 types of DED (evaporative and aqueous deficient), management is unique to each type. But the most common management is by instilling artificial eye drops. Take note, most of the eye drops have preservatives. Some eyes may not suit them due to the DED type. To determine which type you have, a series of appropriate eye tests are usually conducted by a registered Optometrist. After which, proper management will be given. Have your eyes tested.