Dry eye syndrome / Xerophthalmia
Dry eye syndrome (DES), also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a condition that is characterized by disruption, not only of the quantity but also of the quality of tears resulting in discomfort and blurred vision.
The tear has a dual function. Its mechanic use is to remove bacteria, allergens, irritants and foreign bodies from the eye and its lubricant use where it nourishes the external surface of the eye.
Dry Eye Syndrome might present as a clinical symptom of systemic diseases or occurs with aging.
DES might be a symptom in a number of systemic diseases, most common being rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and diseases of the thyroid gland.
Regarding exogenous factors, excessive use of computers, sun exposure without sunglasses and air conditioning are some of the causes that are responsible for Dry Eye Syndrome.
Finally, it may be due to side effects caused by pharmaceutical products – drugs such as those used for the treatment of blood pressure, allergy medications, contraceptives, antidepressants.
The clinical symptoms of dry eyes are as follows:
- Eye redness.
- Intolerance to contact lenses.
- Burning feeling in the eyes.
- Mucous secretions.
- Blurred vision as a result of eye fatique.
- The feeling of a foreign body-sand-in the eyes.
- Eye sensitivity to environmental factors such as smoke and wind or solar radiation.
Diagnosis of Dry Eye Syndrome
There are many ways to diagnose dry eyes. First of all, the ophthalmologist’s specialized eye examination. The ophthalmologist using special drops has the ability to identify the cause of dry eyes by measuring the production, the spread as well as the quality of the tear layer.
The same is achieved by the use of a diagnostic device for the evaluation of dry eye syndrome (oculus kevalograph).
Finally, the best method used remains the Schiruer test where a local anesthetic is applied.
Main Treatments of the Dry Eye Syndrome
The use of artificial tears is the first choice for the therapy of Dry Eye Syndrome. Watery or thicker ones are used first in daily administration for temporary relief of symptoms. The thicker ones have the ability to adhere to the eye and provide relief for a longer period. Another therapeutic approach is blockage with special silicone or collagen caps.
Doctors will also recommend for properbody hydration frequent eyelashing, the careful use of contact lenses, reduction in the use of computers and television and protection from exposure to environmental factors are all very helpful.
When dry eye is caused by systemic diseases, treatment of these diseases greatly reduces the incidence of it.
Also in cases due to inflammation of the eyes, treatment of inflammation with topical antibiotics and cortisone is needed.
Acupuncture & Dry Eye Syndrome
It is obvious that Western medicine’s approach deals with symptoms relief.
Several studies have been performed on the effects of acupuncture therapy on dry eye syndrome.
A comparative study by Shanghai Fudon University Hospital, concludes that the relief of dry eye symptoms is equal to the use of artificial tears, but through acupuncture we have statistically significant better results in terms of duration.
In a 2019 randomized research, two groups of patients were chosen. The first one had placebo acupuncture and the other one actual acupuncture.
Finally, earlier studies confirm that acupuncture can increase tear production, tear film stability, and improve patients’ subjective symptoms.
The conclusion was that, in the group receiving acupuncture the results were statistically significant, more therapeutic in terms of both patient perception and duration of treatment.