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Dry Eyes in the Morning

Dry Eyes in the Morning

Dry eye syndrome is an eye condition that is characterized by the lack of tear production. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for dry eyes in the morning.
HealthHearty Staff
Tears play a very important role in keeping our eyes healthy. Every time we blink, a thin layer of tears gets spread over the cornea. The tear film is composed of water, lipids, and mucins. A layer of proteins called mucins allows the aqueous layer to stick to the water-repellent cornea. On top of the aqueous layer is the lipid layer, which prevents the aqueous layer from getting evaporated. Thus, a perfect balance of these three components helps in keeping our eyes moist. The tear film performs various vital functions. It is essential for keeping the ocular surface healthy. It protects the eyes from irritants, and provides an optically clear and stable anterior refracting surface that is required for clear vision.
If our eyes are unable to produce tears, we could develop dry eyes. The term 'dry eye syndrome' is self-explanatory. Basically, a person affected by this condition experiences a gritty sensation in the eyes along with a host of symptoms due to the lack of production of tears in the eyes.
Contributing Factors
If the quality or the quantity of tears gets adversely affected, it would make one susceptible to eye infections. Due to the lack of tears, the affected individual is likely to experience a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes. Many individuals who are affected by this condition experience dryness in the eyes in the morning. Since the eyes are not able to produce tears, such individuals need to use artificial tears. The following sections provide information on contributing factors, symptoms, and treatment for this condition.
Tear production decreases with age, which is why elderly people might be susceptible to this condition.
Lack of vitamin A in the diet could put one at a risk of developing this condition.
Dry eyes are very common among people who have been using contact lenses for a long time. Overuse and misuse of contact lenses is often a trigger, as contact lenses tend to suck the moisture from the eyes. Rubbing of the contact lens against the conjunctiva could be the trigger.
Dryness could be a side effect of drugs such as diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines, beta blockers, or oral contraceptives.
Diseases like Sjogren's syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis/SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases may be the underlying cause of dry eyes.
➠ In some people, structural problems that cause incomplete closure of the eyelids could lead to dry eyes.
People who need to use a computer on a daily basis for long periods, or those who spend a lot of time watching television could develop dry eyes, as they tend to blink less. The tear film spreads every time we blink. Thus, one must blink frequently.
Women above the age of 45-50 years are also more prone to dry eyes because of the hormonal changes that occur due to menopause.
Excess watering of the eye, which is medically referred to as epiphora, could cause dryness.
Dryness can also be triggered by environmental irritants such as pollution, dust, smoke, etc.
Dryness in the eyes is often experienced after laser surgery or a cataract surgery. However, it usually resolves in some time.
Symptoms
 tching, especially around the corners of the eyes
Stinging or burning sensation, especially early in the morning
Mucus or discharge around the eyelids, especially when you wake up
Feeling of grittiness or presence of a foreign object in the eye
Redness
Increased eye irritation from smoke or wind
Sensitivity to light
Increased eye fatigue within a short period of time, due to which one feels the need to close the eyes
Blurred vision
Susceptibility to eye infections
If left untreated, this condition could cause vision-related problems or damage or scarring of the cornea.
Treatment
Various treatment options are available for dry eyes. In mild cases, basic care taken at home itself can provide relief. In other cases, the following remedies are beneficial.
Artificial Tears
Artificial tears can be used for moistening or lubricating the eyes. These eye drops can be used whenever irritation is felt in the eyes. Thus, eyes can be moistened instantaneously.
Ointments
Ointments can be used at bedtime. These also work on the principle of lubricating the eye. If these contain vitamin A, their use promotes healing.
Restasis
Restasis, which is an eye drop that contains cyclosporine, is recommended for chronic cases. It is approved by the FDA, and is the only medication in the market at the moment that increases tear production after prolonged use.
Lacrisert
Lacrisert is mainly recommended for severe dry eyes. In this procedure, a sterile, translucent, rod-shaped, water soluble, and preservative-free insert containing hydroxypropyl cellulose is placed in the tear duct.
Temporary or Permanent Silicone Punctal Plugs
Temporary or permanent silicone plugs are used in some cases. In this method, the tear duct that drains the eye, is plugged temporarily to hold the tears longer. If temporary plugging works well, then the patient could get permanent silicone plugs. Some people can even opt for surgeries, where the tear ducts that drain the eye are permanently closed. In some cases, the use of bandage contact lenses might be recommended.
Home Remedies
If someone is affected by dry eyes, they can follow the self-care measures provided below:
First of all, drink plenty of water.
Include fish like sardines and salmon in your diet as they are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Flaxseed oil also helps in preventing dryness in the eyes.
If someone has an underlying disease that is causing dry eyes, treating the underlying ailment can help resolve the problem of dry eyes.
Individuals who use contact lenses can find comfort by opting for soft contact lenses. Also, they should refrain from wearing contact lenses for long periods.
Eyes could become dry due to the use of heaters and air conditioners. Using a humidifier might prove to be beneficial.
Using nutritional supplements, especially the ones that contain vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids, can greatly help.
Since the misuse of contact lenses has been found to be a trigger for increased dryness in the eyes, contact lens users must take precautionary measures. If anyone experiences the aforementioned symptoms, it's advisable to consult an ophthalmologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.