Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome (DES)

DID YOU KNOW the longer you look at digital devices, the more eye strain you experience, as one blinks a lot less when looking at a screen, which in turn dries out our eyes causing what is medical referred to as dry eye syndrome (DES) also known as dry eye disease (DED)?

DES is a condition in which there is an imbalance in the quantity and/or quality of tears. Tears are composed of oil, mucus and water each produced in different tissues around the eye and with specific function. Any imbalance in these components affects the tear film function leading to DES.

Other Causes of Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can also be caused by several other factors including:

  1. Ageing – tear production decreases with age
  2. Trauma – surgery and ocular surface injury can cause DES
  3. Diseases – ocular surface diseases, drug reactions, lacrimal gland disease, thyroid eye disease, lid margin disease and auto immune diseases
  4. Miscellaneous – contact lens and some oral medications can cause or aggravate DES

Digital eye strain is typically caused by the use of a digital screen for two or more hours per day. Its symptoms are a combination of some or all of the signs below:

  • Eye strain
  • Redness and dryness due to decreased blinking
  • Blurry vision due to screen glare
  • Headache from prolonged eye strain
  • Neck, shoulder and/or back pain caused by poor posture and sub-optimal screen position
  1. General measures – purposeful blinking especially when using a computer for long periods and resting of tired eyes can reduce discomfort. Avoid air conditioned spaces, fans and smoky or dusty spaces as they aggravate the symptoms.
  2. Ocular lubricants – use of drops, ointments and gels to lubricate the eyes, giving them temporary relief.
  3. Blocking tear drainage – for severe DES, the drainage of tears can be prevented temporarily or permanently with punctal plugs or through surgery.
  4. Medications – topical anti-inflammatory medication can be used in DES.

Remember, an eye visit at least once a year keeps your eye health in check. Happy Workplace Eye Wellness Month!

Do you have a query related to Dry Eye Syndrome or any other eye-related query? Please feel free to contact us via info@cityeyehospital.or.ke

If you have an eye condition or are in need of a routine eye exam, talk to us via +254 (0) 707 777 707 or visit us at City Eye Hospital, Ngong Rd, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Nairobi, Kenya. 


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