Dry eyes

Dry eye is a condition where the ducts within the eyelids that produce tears, dry up. Tears are very essential for the proper functioning of the eyes, because they provide lubrication for the eyelids to glide over the eye ball and help to keep it moist. This condition can lead to lower resolution of vision and in some cases can cause severe damage to the eye ball itself, not to mention the added risks of performing daily activities with bad eyesight.

If you have dry eyes, your body is telling you that you are pushing it beyond its limits, and it is a common indicator for lifestyle diseases. Dr Rohit Shetty, neuro-ophthalmologist and the Vice chairman of Narayana Netralaya says ‘something as simple as a change in posture while working on a computer for long hours could be the reason for dry eyes.’ He warns, that they are an early indicator for hyper or hypothyroidism. If you are suffering from dry eyes, getting a routine health check up might be the best thing to do.


The most common reason is our work or work culture. This means spending long hours in the day in front of the computer, without any breaks. According to Dr Rohit Shetty, ‘eyes were not really meant to see pixilated images, so a constant exposure to them can harm your eyes’. Another factor is your all-round health, if you are diabetic, hypertensive, or are on antipsychotic drugs, the possibility of suffering from dry eyes increases. Apart from this other habits like smoking, drinking, not having adequate sleep could make the symptoms of dry eyes worse.


Dr Shetty says,’the problem of dry eyes is very common and unique to our population, it is estimated that 25% of our population suffers from dry eyes’.

Common symptoms of dry eyes are –

  • Feeling dry or itchy in the eye after a whole days work
  • Having irritation throughout the day
  • Fatigue in their eyes
  • Redness at the end of the day
  • Vision not optimal at the end of the day

While all these symptoms are true for most people, it is important to realize that symptoms change from person to person.


Narayana Netralaya, is known to be a pioneer in the world of vision, Dr Rohit Shetty along with associate doctors, have set up a whole unit within the hospital to treat and diagnose dry eyes. Here are some of the advanced techniques in diagnosing dry eyes:

1.  Speed Questionnaire:This is an informal technique, where the doctor will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, so that he/she can understand your general level of discomfort.

2. Slit lamp evaluation: This is done on an outpatient basis by an ophthalmologist. A brief examination of the eye under magnification is done to determine the status of the eye and have an initial idea about the type, cause and severity of dry eye. If the doctor determines that there is a problem, he/she may prescribe further tests.


If you are diagnosed with dry eyes, your opthamologist will decide on what type of treatment you might need to better the condition. Depending on the severity of the condition, you will be given a choice between medical management techniques and surgical procedures. Here are a few remedies your doctor may prescribe:

Medical management:

1. Artificial tear substitutes:  Your doctor will prescribe these drops in order to relieve your eyes of strain and help in better production of tears. Ideally you should use the drops regularly. In cases you have severe dry eyes you could use the drops once every  hour. You could use the drops 4-6 times a day in moderate cases. Make sure you buy preservative free drops as they are known to cause toxicity within the eyes.

2. Anti-inflammatory agents: Since artificial tears do not stop inflammation caused within the eye due to dry eyes, your doctor will prescribe you some anti inflammatory drops to reduce the swelling in the eye.


Tips to prevent dry eyes:

  1. Take regular breaks while working on the computer
  2. Maintain a good posture when reading, looking at the computer screen
  3. Use rewetting drops at the end of the day
  4. Get regular eye check up
  5. If dry eyes persist get a complete health check up, to check for any other disease conditions.

Dry eyes can be easily prevented, a good tip would be to use lubricating drops about half an hour before you leave office. This will give relief to your eye and restore vision at the end of the day. 

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