When your eyes do not produce enough tears, you are suffering from a condition called a dry eyes. It is very common nowadays due to constant staring at TV screens, monitors, smartphones, and other gadgets.
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is usually caused by the overexposure to computer screens because it forces our eyes open for a longer period of time that keeps us from blinking, therefore, leading to excess evaporation of tear fluid.
This condition has varied effects. It may have bearable effects like eye irritation but sometimes, it also leads to serious complications like inflammation, infection, and scarring in the eye’s front surface.
The Need for Tears
Tears are essential in keeping our eyes healthy in many ways, including prevention of eye dryness. They also carry nutrients and oxygen to our eyes if blood vessels are absent in that part of our body. It also contains some elements that can heal damage and lubricates the eye surface to allow us to see clearly.
Almost 48 percent of Americans aged 18 and above are suffering from dry eyes symptoms according to a poll conducted online. It was revealed in a 2012 Gallup poll that 26 million Americans have dry eyes and this figure may climb to over 29 million after 10 years. The same is true with the high-tech country Japan, where there are 1 in every 10 people suffering from DES.
Prolonged Dry Eyes
Akio Kihara from Hokkaido University leads a research team to study mice with their Elovl1 gene being taken out from all parts of its body except for the skin. The elovl1 gene is the ones responsible for encoding enzymes that lengthens fatty acid chains.
Based on the team’s observation, the mice that blinked often showed signs of DES. After a span of 5 months, many of those mice have cloudy corneas – it is the part of the eye that protects it from germs, dirt, and other foreign objects that may be harmful to the eyes.
The most probable cause of this was believed to be prolonged dry eyes because it limits the ability of the cornea to repair itself.
It was also found out in the study that Elovl1 gene is closely linked to the creation of long-chain melbum that is believed to protect the eyes from getting dry.
Foods That Prevent DES and Helps Us To See Clearly
If you want to protect your eyes, you need to start eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids – a nutrient that helps decrease eye inflammation and increases the production of tears. Below are some examples of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Chia seeds
- Soybean oil
- Palm oil
Symptoms and Warning Signs of DES
- Burning sensation in the eyes
- Tired and heavy eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Sore eyes
- Blurred vision
Effective Home Remedies For DES
There are several home remedies that are not just effective than prescription drugs, they are also much cheaper:
- Wash your eyelids by adding a few drops of baby shampoo on clean fingertips and gently massage your eyelids with your eyes closed. Avoid contact with eyes as it may irritate it. Rinse with warm water. Do this twice daily.
- Applying a warm compress to your closed eyes two times per day can improve blood circulation that can help relieve symptoms of DES.
- To relieve irritation, itching, eye pain, and burning sensation, you can try applying castor oil drops.
- Another natural solution for DES is coconut oil. Soak a cotton in the oil and apply in on your closed eyelids for at least 15 minutes. Repeat this process several times a day at regular intervals.
- Always try to blink every once in a while to moisten them if you can’t limit your time spent in front of a screen.
One of the most precious organs in our body is our eyes. It lets us see the great splendor of the world around us. Make sure to always take care of them.