Dry eye has a variety of symptoms.
Dry eye is a general term for problems caused by a decrease in the amount of tears that cover the surface of the eye or a change in its quality. It is estimated that there are 16 to 22 million people with dry eye in Japan.
- My eyes get tired easily.
- My eyes are rumbling.
- My eyes feel heavy.
- My eyes feel dry.
- I have discomfort in my eyes.
- My eyes are hurting.
- Things look hazy.
- The light is dazzling.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Eye discharge.
These are the main symptoms of dry eye. These symptoms are caused by decreased tear production or an unstable tear layer. If 5 or more items apply to you, you may have dry eye.
Eyes are protected by a tear lining
The surface of the eye consists of the cornea and conjunctiva. A thin layer of tears covers and protects the surface of the eye because the outer cornea and conjunctiva are made up of mucous membranes that are easily damaged.
Tears are divided into layers of liquid and oil from the inside, and spread to the surface of the eye by blinking.
The main component of the liquid is water, and it is mixed with a substance called "secretory mucin" that creates sliminess. Secretory mucin reduces the friction between the eyelid and the surface of the eye during blinking.
Furthermore, the inside of the liquid layer is covered with "membrane-type mucin," which has the function of allowing moisture to spread over the entire surface of the eye. The oil layer is the outermost layer of the tear and prevents water from evaporating.
Lifestyle and environment cause "dry eye"
Tears play an important role, such as preventing dry eyes, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the cornea, cleaning dust and allergens, and sterilizing bacteria and viruses.
In normal eyes, tears are produced and drained evenly, but in dry eyes, less tears cover the surface of the eye, leaving the cornea partially exposed and damaged. increase. In addition, the oxygen and nutrients supplied to the cornea by tears are insufficient, resulting in various disorders.
Although it has not been scientifically proven to be the cause of decreased tears, it is believed that stress, hormone balance, etc. are related. It can also be caused by "VDT syndrome" caused by computer use or by wearing contact lenses.
Dry eye is caused by unavoidable factors, such as age-related tear loss, specific diseases that cause dry eye, and side effects of medications.
The four environments that cause dry eye are
- air conditioner
- contact lens
"Tips" to protect your eyes from dry eye
People who work a lot on the computer tend to spend more time staring at the monitor screen and blink less as they become more absorbed in their work. As a result, the evaporation of tears increases. Dry eyes occur.
As a countermeasure, there is a way to put the computer display below eye level. If the display is above your eye level, you will be opening your eyelids wide. As a result, the surface area of the eye increases and the tears evaporate more easily, making the eye more prone to dryness. Conversely, the lower the display is below eye level, the less you need to open your eyelids to see, and the less dry your eyes will be. Next, it is also important to consciously blink when you are watching a computer or TV.
The modern age is unimaginable without an air conditioner. However, air conditioning dries the room, so if you stay in that room for a long time, the tears that cover the surface of your eyes will easily evaporate.
If your seat is facing the air conditioner outlet, such as in your office or living room, change the position so that the air does not hit it directly. Also, use a wet towel or a humidifier to prevent the room from drying out.
There are soft and hard contact lenses. Soft lens materials contain moisture. Therefore, when placed on the cornea, the soft lens absorbs tears from the surface of the eye and dries the surface of the eye, making dry eye more likely.
On the other hand, hard lens materials do not contain moisture. Therefore, compared to soft lenses, it can be said that tears evaporate less even when placed on the cornea. However, since hard lenses are made of hard material, when you put them on your cornea and blink, they move around and irritate your eyes. Normally, when dust gets into the eyes, tears reflexively flow, but if irritation from hard lenses becomes chronic, sensitivity decreases, reflex secretion decreases, and dry eyes are more likely to occur.
Contact lenses are great enemies of dry eyes. If you wear contact lenses, use artificial tears.
Humans control body temperature, breathing, blood pressure, etc. by autonomic nerves. The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system, which works during emergencies, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which works during relaxation.
, The parasympathetic nervous system becomes dominant, and when you become sleepy and yawn, tears naturally flow. Conversely, when the sympathetic nervous system is dominant and the eye is excited, the saliva production stops, the mouth dries up, the pupil dilates, the secretion of tears decreases, and the surface of the eyes tends to dry out.
Under extreme stress, the sympathetic nervous system dominates, and if the stress continues, the parasympathetic nervous system will not switch on easily, making it difficult for tears to flow. Stress society is also affecting the background of the increase in dry eye.
Getting rid of stress can be difficult. However, you can increase your resistance by accepting stress and coping well. It is basic to eat three meals a day, exercise moderately, keep good quality sleep in mind, and lead a regular life. Also, when you feel stressed, it's a good idea to bring your own way to relieve tension in your mind and body, such as taking a bath or listening to music.
Prevent dry eye with "blinking exercise"
If the cause of dry eye is largely related to environmental factors, it is possible to improve or prevent dry eye simply by paying attention to the points mentioned above.
Among them, it is recommended to consciously blink and do "blinking exercises".
*For information on how to do "blinking exercises", please refer to the "Eyesight Restoration Exercises / Eyesight Restoration Training" page.
It is said that one blink is as effective as one drop of eye drops. In particular, if you have large eyes and can't blink enough, if you do blink exercises, you will see results in as early as a week.
Older people also tend to have oil-filled meibomian glands, resulting in poor tear quality. For such people, it would be a good idea to warm a steamed towel over the closed eyelids for about 3 minutes when bathing.
The solidified oil in the meibomian glands is said to melt at about 40 degrees C (bath temperature). Please try this method as well.
What are meibomian glands?
Meibomian glands are about 60 glands on the inside of the eyelashes around the eyes. It secretes oil to keep tears from evaporating.
The orifices of the meibomian glands are lined up almost in a straight line at the edge, but it is a little difficult to distinguish with the naked eye even when looking in a mirror. It secretes an oil (lipid) that spreads on the surface of the tears when you blink and prevents the tears from evaporating.
As you get older, your eyes become irritated, and the discomfort you feel when you go 'shaggy', 'shibashiba', and 'gurgling' seems to be related to the fact that your meibomian glands aren't working as well.
Approximately 86% of dry eye patients have evaporative dry eye, and it is reported that the main cause is "meibomian gland dysfunction". “Meibomian gland dysfunction”, which is one of the causes of dry eye, simply means that the function of the meibomian glands deteriorates.
There are types that produce no oil (hypersecretion type) and types that produce too much oil (hypersecretion type). It seems to be especially noticeable in the elderly.
It is said that the reason why the oil does not come out is that the properties of the oil change and it becomes easier to harden.
If the meibomian glands are not working properly, the oil film that prevents the tears from evaporating does not form properly. It will make it easier for your tears to dry.
Meibomian gland dysfunction is thought to be one of the major causes of dry eye, as the oil that keeps tears from evaporating is not produced properly.
Subjective symptoms include tired eyes, bloodshot eyes, and a feeling that something is stuck in the eyes, which are almost the same as those of dry eye.