Dry Eye Syndrome Requires Cause-Specific Treatment to Prevent Exacerbation During Dry Season [Dr. Yoon Sam-young, 1st Eye Clinic]
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    Increasing numbers of individuals are visiting ophthalmologists with "dry eye syndrome," in which the eyes feel stiff and achy in sudden cold weather or have the sensation of sand in the eyes.


    Due to COVID-19 in particular, people are primarily active indoors where they see things close up, and as more time is spent on zoom classes using smart devices or PC monitors, dry eye syndrome becomes a chronic condition, resulting in an increase in the number of patients who complain of discomfort.



    Do not rub your eyes when they are swollen and itchy, and it is recommended to use artificial tears to alleviate the symptoms. If pain is present, medical attention may be required. This is because persistent dry eye syndrome can cause vision loss and eye disease.


    Dry eye syndrome is a disease in which the amount of tears secreted is diminished, the oil that protects the tear layer is not secreted, and the tears evaporate rapidly, causing the eyes to feel stiff, itchy, sore, and watery, while also being sensitive to light. In severe cases, you may experience blurred vision or difficulty opening your eyes in the morning, as well as a headache.



    The most prevalent cause of dry eyes is dysfunction of the meibomian gland, which results in thinning of the lipid layer of tears, causing them to evaporate quickly. When dryness occurs, it causes discomfort in the eyes, such as soreness, a sensation of having something stuck in the eye, or tears when the wind blows. It is generally not too much cause for concern, but care must be taken because, if left untreated, it can result in complications such as visual impairment and keratitis.



    The most common method of treating dry eye syndrome is to induce stabilization of the tear film by using eye drops to supplement the components of tears which are lacking. Currently, there are numerous types of eye drops; therefore, it is preferable to obtain a prescription for eye drops from a medical doctor.



    If inflammation of the meibomian glands of the eyelids is the primary cause of dry eye syndrome, anti-inflammatory treatment is administered, and intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) may be considered for restoring the function of the meibomian glands. After determining whether meibomian gland function has been lost through a pre-procedure test, it is advantageous to initiate IPL treatment for dryness.


    In addition, conditions such as allergies or wearing contact lenses can cause dry eyes. In particular, dry seasons such as autumn and winter can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to indoor humidity control by using a humidifier or hanging damp towels.



    In addition, if the symptoms of dry eye syndrome are severe, it is recommended that you visit an ophthalmologist in your area to determine the cause of dry eye syndrome and receive treatment.