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Dry eyes from anxiety: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Dry eye is the main reason for ophthalmological consultation. It is a condition that implies that the eyes do not maintain adequate tear film or are necessary for the proper functioning of the eye. The function of this film is to keep the eye hydrated, which contributes to good vision since the foreign particles that enter the eye can be eliminated.

According to certain studies, dry eye syndrome, or SOS, as this condition is often called, affects 15 to 30% of the population. It affects more women than men; it is more common in older people and people of Asian origin. Various reasons cause dry eye. At FastlyHealwe, tell you more details about Dry Eyes due to anxiety: causes and treatment.

Dry eye syndrome or SOS

The eyes have a light coating that allows them to function correctly. This tear film is typically made up of three layers :

  • The deepest is thin and is made up of mucin.
  • The intermediate is the thickest and mainly comprises water and salt.
  • The surface layer, also thin, is composed of lipids, whose function is to prevent the evaporation of the intermediate layer.

Alterations in any of these layers can affect vision. When the layer of water and salt is reduced, SOS occurs. This can result from excessive evaporation due to deficiencies in the superficial layer or perhaps due to insufficient tear secretion. The eyes are susceptible to both external and internal factors of the individual. This condition is easily treated and does not usually happen to the elderly.

However, dry eye symptoms vary and can progress from mild to severe if left untreated. The main symptoms of SOS are:

  • Itching, burning, and redness in the eye.
  • I am feeling sand in the eye.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Blurred vision and even a headache.
  • Excessive tearing is a mechanism to compensate for the dryness of the eye.

Dry eyes: causes

Eye dryness is associated with different factors, ranging from a weak immune system, side effects of some medication, and even sleeping with your eyes slightly open, as certain specialists claim. It is considered a prevalent condition in people over 40 years of age, primarily women. This is due to hormonal changes, which produce changes in the quality and quantity of the tear film.

It can also be related to a malfunction of the Melbourne glands. These are specialized sebaceous glands found in the eyelids (around 50 in the upper part and more or less 25 in the lower leg), which produce Meibum, an oily substance that prevents dry eyes.

SOS or dry eyes syndrome can be associated with different causes, among which are:

  • Weak immune system
  • Diseases such as diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergies.
  • Side effects of certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, or oral contraceptives.
  • Dry or windy environments, prolonged exposure to the sun, and elements that irritate the eyes include tobacco smoke, air conditioning, and heating.
  • Diet deficiencies.
  • Use of contact lenses.
  • Some eye surgery that produces that side effect.

Dry eyes: depression, anxiety, and nerves

Dry eye syndrome is considered a multifactorial disease of the tear film and the ocular surface. This produces, as mentioned above, chronic irritation and inflammation, and even blurred vision, which undoubtedly affects the quality of life of the patient and can lead to alterations in mental health in severe cases. This condition, in addition, can be associated with diseases that produce chronic pain and a tendency to depressive and anxiety states.

The relationship between dry eye syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus has long been known. On the other hand, some specialists have more recently evaluated the relationship between dry eyes and anxiety and depression. Certain studies show that in depressed patients, there is an increase in the symptoms of SOS, and in turn, it is considered that SOS, by affecting the quality of life of patients, can have psychological effects.

On the other hand, most medications used to treat anxiety and depression affect the tear film, creating a vicious cycle. In patients suffering from depression and anxiety, dry eyes are three times more frequent than healthy people.

This relationship is statistically significant, although it comes from a study that did not consider the use of antidepressants, which affects the tear film. But it certainly establishes a relationship between dry eye and anxiety and depression that had already been pointed out by other research. Most people with dry eyes describe feeling anxious and depressed about this disease, as they find it challenging to deal with the chronic pain that it produces.

If the patient is being treated for mental illness and the one treated for dry eyes, specialists should consider the relationship between both conditions when offering treatment options, which can help with the patient’s recovery. In any case, psychological or psychiatric support is recommended for patients suffering from SOS, which seeks to address the disease by considering its multifactorial nature.

Dry eyes: Treatment

Doctors generally recommend using artificial tears or lubricating gels to treat dry eyes. This provides great relief to people when they use them 2 to 4 times a day. In many cases, changes in habits also help, such as:

  • Use of sunglasses.
  • Adjust diet.
  • Avoid dry environments.
  • Avoid air conditioning.
  • Take care of the hygiene of the eyelids.

Regarding treatments, when the disease is more severe, the doctor may prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatories. In addition, other therapies include the use of micro plugs that are placed in the tear ducts or the occlusion of the tear points through a surgical procedure in the most severe cases. One of the newest treatments is the use, as eye drops, of an autologous serum, which is produced from the patient’s blood. It is a regenerative medicine therapy that uses the proteins present in the blood to promote the regeneration of the corneal surface and the reduction of inflammation of the eyes.

This state-of-the-art treatment is currently used for the most severe cases. Undoubtedly, the specialist must know the patient’s medical history in all cases. This condition occurs as a side effect of certain medications or is associated with other diseases in some individuals. This way, it will be easier to find the proper treatment.

Home remedies for dry eye

When you suffer from dry eyes, it is essential to assimilate certain routines to improve your quality of life. These include:

  • Blink frequently and pause by closing your eyes using electronic devices that require staring, such as computers or screens.
  • Moisturize the eyes with black tea bags passed through boiling water or with cottons soaked in chamomile infusion, which, once cool, are placed on the eyelids.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and use vitamin supplements. It also helps to consume foods rich in Omega 3, such as flaxseed oil and fish.
  • Refresh the eyes by placing cucumber wheels on the eyelids. This vegetable has anti-inflammatory and cooling properties.

In general, dry eyes do not cause serious consequences, but it is necessary to consult a doctor if you regularly suffer from any of the symptoms. If the dry eye condition is prolonged, the risk of infection grows, affecting the cornea and long-term vision. Due to the type of symptoms, it usually takes a long time before people decide to consult the doctor, and likewise, once the treatment begins, the improvements may take time. In the following article, we explain in more depth the home remedies for dry eyes.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Dry eyes due to anxiety: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Eyes and vision category .

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