Last Updated on April 17, 2021 by The Health Master
Beware of dry Eyes: read for remedy
Most of us try to beat the heat by moving to a cooler place with air-conditioners and coolers. On an average, we might be spending around 14 to 16 hours a day in an air-conditioned room.
But this artificial air and temperature changes caused by the ACs harm our health, especially our eyes. People working in AC rooms often complain of dryness, irritation, grittiness, stickiness, itching, burning and watering from the eyes.
This is called dry eye or dry eye syndrome.
Why ACs cause dry eyes
Adequate quality and quantity of tears in the eyes is essential for smooth functioning of the eyes. Dry eye syndrome is the change in quality or quantity of the three layers of the tear film oily (exterior), water/aqueous layer (middle) and protein (inner).
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In an AC room, especially in very low temperatures, the air becomes extremely dry and causes evaporation from the watery layer of tear film, causing evaporative dry eyes. Subsequently, long-term exposure to such AC can also alter the lipid production from glands in the eyelids causing a change in quality and quantity of tear film and hence dry eyes.
Without lubrication, the eyes are vulnerable to inflammation and infection.
The poor hygiene of ACs is among the main causes for proliferation of virus, bacteria and fungi.
Burning, dryness, itchiness, aching sensations, heaviness, watering from the eyes and blurred vision. The reading speed can slow down for those who have dry eyes.
1. Ageing and menopause in women.
2. Certain medical conditions including diabetes, thyroid disorders and vitamin A deficiency.
3. Side effects of certain drugs like antihistamines.
4. Laser eye surgery, though symptoms of dry eyes related to this procedure are usually temporary.
5. Tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation.
6. Diseases that affect your ability to produce tears, like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, collagen vascular diseases.
7. Problems that don’t allow your eyelids to close.
8. People in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are more likely to be diagnosed with dry eyes than the other towns with relatively less air pollution.
9. Prolonged staring or use of computer or smartphones.
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1. Minimise the number of hours you use the AC for. Set temperature to around 23 degrees and up.
2. Avoid facing the AC.
3. Place an open bowl of water in a corner of the room to maintain humidity.
4. Drink enough liquids.
5. Frequent conscious blinking when using computer or phones will help in distribution of tear film.
6. Have 7-8 hours of sleep.
8. Follow eye doctor’s advice to help your body create and secrete more tears and decrease eye irritation.
By Dr Srinivasan G Rao
The writer is the regional head – Clinical Services, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital