Dry Eye Syndrome which is a short form known as DES is a disorder in which either there is a decrease in tear production or an increase in tear evaporation. This is a problem that can be due to a problem with the quantity or quality of the tears in the eye.
Dry Eye is associated with another eye-related symptom like difficulty in vision or discomfort in the eye. Other symptoms of the condition include inflammation of the surface of the eye. Dry eye cause difficulty in doing day to day activity like reading, to computer-related jobs, difficulty in traveling. If the condition is not treated this can lead to pain, ulcers, scars on the cornea, loss of vision (permanent loss of vision is not seen in this condition).
Definition: Chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye causing discomfort and related problems.
Synonyms for Dry Eye Condition
- Dry eye syndrome
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- Dysfunctional tear syndrome
- Lacrimal ketatoconjunctivitis
- Evaporative tear deficiency
- Aqueous tear deficiency
- LASIK induced neurotrophic epitheliopathy (LNE)
Risk factors for dry eye
In certain conditions risk of developing dry eye increases.
In Sjogren’s Syndrome, there is excessive dryness throughout the body. This is usually seen in females in menopause. This may cause dry eyes.
In Rheumatoid Arthritis, autoimmune disease is related to chronic inflammation of the joints that may cause Inflammation around eyes which causes dry eyes. Also, any object which falls into the eyes causes inflammation in the eye and in further course causes dry eye.
Intake of Sleeping pills, Multivitamin, Patient taking Parkinson’s medications, Frequent use of eye drops more than four times a day for more than 6 weeks, Diuretics (this drug is generally used in the treatment of high blood pressure), Isotretinoin for acne, Opiates based medicine like morphine can cause dry eye. Patients with bone marrow or stem cell transplants can present with this condition. Orbital surgery, radiation, and injury chemical or thermal can cause dry eye.
Low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids and Patient on antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants Celexa, Lexepro, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Paxil are all antidepressants that have reportedly made dry-eye conditions worse.
Below are listed few such conditions which may lead to a dry eye condition.
- Blepharitis (chronic inflammation of the eyelid, resulting in inflamed, irritated, itchy, and reddened eyelids)
- Botulinum toxin (commonly known as Botox inject
- Cigarette smoking
- Contact lens wearers
- Diabetes mellitus patient
- Female taking oral contraceptives
- Hepatitis C infection
- HIV infection
- Hormonal imbalance like androgen deficiency
- LASIK surgery
- Meibomitis (inflammatory condition of the Meibomian glands)
- Older age
- Ovarian dysfunction
- A person living in low humidity environments
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Watching TV and computer for a long time
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
In Mild Dry Eye Syndrome, the patient has symptoms like irritation, itching, soreness, burning, or occasional blurring of vision.
In Moderate Dry Eye Syndrome, the patient has increased discomfort and frequency of symptoms. Difficulty in vision is for a long duration.
In Severe Dry Eye Syndrome, there will be an increased frequency of symptoms. The patient is continuously troubled by symptoms.
Burning of the eye
- Decreased tolerance for reading, working on the computer.
- Difficulty in doing activity in light and sensitivity towards a bright light
- Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
- Early weakness and fatigue in the eye.
- Heavy eyelids
- Inability to cry
- Irritation in the eye with Tearing pain in the eyes
- Mild itching can be present
- Pain and redness of the eye episodes of blurred vision
- Sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye episodes of excess tears from eyes which is followed by very dry eye.
- Stringy discharge from the eye
Homeopathic Medicines for dry eye
In Homeopathy, there are certain remedies that are quite useful in dry eye syndrome. Below are described a few such helpful remedies.
1- Arnica Montana
Arnica Montana is given in this condition when a patient has a history of either injury, falls, blows on head not only recent in origin but also remote one. It is also given in case of strains. It acts best on a person with very dark hair with strong muscles, is always very enthusiastic, but at the same time very nervous. The patient is traumatized with grief or any type of sadness glooms in. The patient is extremely nervous and fears touch. He has completed lack of any emotion for a near and dear person. The patient cannot bear the pain. Cases of double vision are seen in case of traumatism along with muscular weakness and paralysis and retinal hemorrhage. There are bruised sore feeling in the eyes after very work which needs great attention. He must keep his eyes open. The patient feels lost of control when closing the eyes. He feels tired and weak after seeing moving pictures.
Worse – from least touch, from motion, from rest, from taking wine, from exposure to damp cold weather.
Better – From lying down by keeping head low.
Dosage- Arnica Montana 30, 3 times a day for 5 days. But should be wet dose
The wet dose is prepared in the following way- Taking a liquid pack of the remedy known as a liquid dilution in a bottle preferably with a dropper arrangement.
Take 500 ml bottle of water.
Pour out 3 cm of water from the bottle to leave some airspace.
Insert 3 drops of the remedy into the bottle and shake the bottle hard before you sip a capful which is the dose.
Nat muriaticum is given in a patient who has bad effects from taking excessive salt and all of his complaints are due to excessive intake of salt. This salt intake leads to a collection of fluid in the body leading to dropsy’s, edemas and in the long course causes anemia and gout. The weakness of the body is a marked symptom of this remedy. This is seen in the neck. The patient takes cold very easily. There is dryness of mucous membranes. The patient has a medical record of hyperthyroidism goiter and diabetes. The patient has ill effects of grief, excessive fear, anger. If somebody consoles this type of person then he feels worse about his complaints. Eyes feel bruised, with headaches in school children. Muscles feel weak and stiff. He feels as if letters run together. He sees sparks, before his eyes. Feel difficulty in vision with the appearance of zigzag around all objects. There is burning in the eyes. The patient has difficulty in reading or writing. Tears stream down the face on coughing. Tears feel acidic and there is a lot of burning when flows. The patient feels pain in the eyes when looking down.
Worse – from noise, from music, from living in a warm room, from lying down, patient feel worse around 10 a.m, the patient feels weak at the seashore, from mental exertion, from giving consolation, from taking heat, from talking.
Better – from the open air, cold bathing, feel better when lying on the right side, from tight clothing.
Dosage– Nat muriaticum 30, 5 pellets 3 times a day for 10 days.
2- Euphrasia Officinalis
Euphrasia Officinalis is important to remedy for eye complaints when there are catarrhal affections of the mucous membranes, especially of the eyes and nose. There are acidic tears (cause inflammation, redness around the nose) and watery discharge from the nose. The patient feels worse in the evening. It is given in catarrhal conjunctivitis with acidic discharge from the eyes. There is profuse discharge from the eyes and eyes water all the time. This discharge is thick and the patient feels burning and swelling of the lids. So it is given in case of blepharitis. The patient has a frequent inclination to blink. There is an accumulation of sticky mucus on the cornea, so the patient must wink to remove it. It is also given in cases of glaucoma when patients feel pressure in the eyes.
Worse in the evening, feel worse in indoors, from warmth, from light.
Better – from taking coffee, when in the dark.
Dosage– Euphrasia Officinalis 30C, take two doses per day for two days.
The characteristic symptom of this remedy is dryness of the mucous membranes and skin. It is given to old people, with the inability to cope with cold. This patient has a prematurely old look with great weakness. The patient has characteristic symptoms of constipation. It can also be given to delicate children who fed on outside prepared milk and artificial foods. The patient looks at all objects yellow. Eyes feel cold. The lids of the patient feel dry. There is a feeling of burning. smarting in eyes. All this complaint worse in the morning.
Worse – in the afternoon, from taking potatoes, in the morning on waking up, in a warm room.
Better – in the open air, from taking cold washing, in the evening and on alternated days, from damp weather.
Dosage– 30 4 pellets 3 times a day for 6 days.
4- Arsenicum album
Arsenicum album is given in cases when the patient’s complaint worsens at night and the patient feels great weakness after doing the least work. There are burning pains in the body. Patient burning is better by heat. The patient feels very bad after eating fruits, especially watery fruits like watermelon and melon. Complaints of this patient return after every year. This remedy should always be given when complaints come as a result of chronic use of alcoholism, from the history of biting of stings, from chewing tobacco, having ill effects on eating decayed food. There is burning of eyes, with acidic tears. Eyelids are red, ulcerated, have granules. In this remedy edema is seen around the eyes, Inflammation is seen with extreme pain. There is difficulty in seeing in light, which is better by taking external warmth.
Worse – from wet weather, after midnight, from taking cold, from taking cold drinks or cold food, from the right side.
Better – from heat, from taking warm drinks.
Dosage– Arsenicum album 200, 4 pellets 4 times a day for 10 days.
4- Nux moschata
In this remedy, the patient has cold extremities, with extreme dryness of skin and mucous membranes. The patient is unable to keep awake. He feels sleepy all time. The patient has a very changeable mood which ranges from laughing and crying. The patient has a weakness in memory. He feels that he is in a dream. All objects look large.
Worse – from taking cold moist wind, from taking cold food, from cold washing, when lying on the painful side, from motion.
Better – by warmth, from dry weather.
Dosage– Nux moschata 30, 4 pellets 3 times a day for 10 days.
6- Zincum metalicum
Zincum metallic is given for patients having a weak memory. He is very sensitive to noise. He has no desire to work and to talk with anybody. He feels very alone. There is burning in the eyes. The patient feels the pressure as if pressed into the head. He feels itching and soreness of lids. There is a blurring of one-half of vision.
Worse – at time of menses, from touch, between 5 to 7 p.m, after taking dinner.
Dosage– Zincum metallic 200, 4 pellets 3 times a day for 5 days.
Management of Dry Eye
- Drink lots of water.
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors, as it reduces the light sensitivity of the eye. It also keeps dust out of the eyes in windy weather.
- Always clean the room as it removes most of the dirt on the floor.
- The use of humidifiers can increase the amount of moisture in the air. This can be useful in areas where there is low humidity.
- Avoid over-the-counter eye drops that contain preservatives.
- Increase your intake of vitamins A and C as well as important omega-3s by making sure your diet consists of many green, leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, citrus fruits, and vegetables. Staying away from foods and drinks that contain caffeine can also reduce your dry eye symptoms, as caffeine dehydrates your body.
- Take “eye breaks” if you are going to be reading or staring at a computer for a long time.