Dry Eyes 23 May 2018 Changes in vision, with or without a burning sensation or the feeling of grains of sand in your eyes? These are symptoms of dry eyes. Millions of people around the world are affected by this eye disease, which must be treated to prevent complications. Anyone can develop dry eyes. Traditionally, the elderly were most affected, but today more and more people of all ages develop dry eyes. It can be associated with systemic and autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren or rosacea. Video games, working on tablets and screens are also know reasons that can contribute to appearance of dry eye. Dry eyes, what to do? Before going to an ophthalmologist, ask yourself the following questions: Do you spend too much time in front of your computer screen? Long hours of exposure could be the source of your eye discomfort. Is the environment in which you work air-conditioned or excessively ventilated? This could contribute to the evaporation of your tear film and therefore dry out your eyes. Do you take medications such as sleeping pills or anti-depressants? It’s possible that these medications have side effects that affect your vision. Do you wear contact lenses often more than eight hours a day? Remember to alternate contact lenses and glasses to let your eyes breathe. If these situations do not apply to you or if you have already applied this advice without success, it is actually recommended to consult a specialist to obtain a complete diagnosis. Dry eyes is one of the first reasons for ophthalmological consultation, do not wait ! Focus on the meibomian glands It is common to think that dry eyes are related to insufficient tear production. If that is the case, then dry eyes can then be lessened through the help of artificial tears. However, for many patients, artificial tears or lubricating eye drops have no effect. In this case, dry eyes can then be linked to the malfunctioning meibomian gland. Present by the dozens in the lower and upper eyelids, these glands produce an oily substance that prevents evaporation of the tear film. This tear film is responsible for feeding the cornea and protecting it against germs, dryness and other aggression. When these glands become blocked or clogged, they can no longer produce this oily substance and the aqueous layer of the tear film tends to evaporate, leaving the eye dry. If your eyes are not only dry but also red, and you suffer from blurred vision, it is highly likely that your meibomian glands are clogged. How to unclog the Meibomian glands? Apply a warm compress on your eyes (be careful not to burn yourself). For example, you can use a wet cloth. Repeat this process 2 times a day, for several days if necessary. If you do not see any improvement, consult an ophthalmologist who can then assess the quality of your Meibomian glands and help with unclogging them. The ophthalmologist may recommend treatment of a thermo massage of the eyelids (LipiFlow) or IPL treatment (Intense Pulse Light) especially if your dry eyes are mostly associated with rosacea. Did you know ? Remember that dry eyes should be monitored. In addition to visual fluctuations, dryness can amplify the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis and promote the appearance of bacterial or viral conjunctivitis. Ask yourself the right questions and consult an ophthalmologist as needed.