Dry eye syndrome is extremely common. It’s characterized by an alteration (both qualitative and quantitative) of the lacrimal production.
First it causes burning and foreign body sensation; then, if the problem persists in time, it can provoke pain, low tolerance to morning light, decrease of the visual capacity. Naturally, in such cases it’s absolutely indispensable to be examined by an eye doctor.
In the meantime, let’s discover together the causes of this problem, and get some hints from our natural remedies.
Lacrimal film, what is it?
Lacrimal film is a liquid that covers the surface of the eye. It’s a lubricant between eyelids and eyeball, it contributes to nourish the tissues which it gets in touch with.
It also delivers oxigen, dissolved in our tears and transported to the epithelium of our ocular surface.
Lacrimal film has also the function to wash our eyes by quickly removing dust and bacteria.
Lacrimal film, how is it composed?
Lacrimal film is a watery complex containing mucins and a lipidic part that lubrifies the most external part of the eye, formed by conjunctiva and cornea.
The eyelid movement spreads the lacrimal film to the external surface of the eye.
The most internal part of the eye is a mucous layer that has the function to retain water.
The intermediate layer consists of water, minerals and other useful substances to protect and clean the eye.
Finally there’s a lipidic layer, formed by fats that prevent the watery layer from evaporating.
The lacrimal film must be perfectly transparent. In normal conditions, then corneal epithelium is perfectly covered with lacrimal film. If it isn’t, the epithelium dries up and ulcerates. So it gets painful and eventually forms an abscess that may be attacked by bacteria, viruses and protozoan parasites.
DRY EYE SYNDROME: CAUSES
Eye dryness can be due to: diseases, work, medications. Nowadays many people spend many hours on a computer, even in their spare time they … keep reading blogs on the web!
In front of a monitor our winking is reduced: we close our eyes less frequently, so we spread less lacrimal film on our eye surface.
And if that weren’t enough, there are often reflections on our monitor due to morning or artificial light.
This involves a continuous adjustment of our eyes to focus, which also causes a modification of the lacrimal film. Besides, this type of work (like many others today) forces us to stay in closed environments that increase our eye dryness.
Many medications cause an alteration of our lacrimal production. Antidepressants, antiparkinson medications, the pill, diuretics, antihypertensives, eye drops for glaucoma, cortisone eye drops are among the main accused.
Eye drops with preservatives should be avoided. In fact, preservatives slim the conjunctiva.
Some diseases predispose to dry eye syndrome too. All autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, acne rosacea.
Other diseases may upset the mechanical side of the eye. In hyperthyroidism the eyeball sticks out and is more exposed to athmospheric events, so the eyelids cannot close well.
Some hormonal conditions such as pregnancy and menopausa may promote eye dryness, too.
How would I recognize an eye dryness due to iperevaporation of the lacrimal film? You have a dry eye, but when you wake up in the morning there’s no secretions on your eyelashes.
It means that the lipidic part of the lacrimal film dropped down. If the fat component of the lacrimal film is not capable of holding water, we need to fix the problem by using eye drops with lipidic components.
On the other hand, if the watery part of the lacrimal film dropped down, we may have blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid that creates a solid secretion on eyelashes.
In this case it’s fundamental to clean the eyelid and use hypotonic tears to provide water.
How to treat a dry eye
From what I said before, it’s clear that a dry eye needs artificial tears to reduce the damage. How should these tears be? Artificial tears must contain no preservatives that may cause irritation.
We’ll need tears with a lipidic component if we wake up with clean eyelashes; on the contrary, we should choose tears with a main watery component in case of solid secretions or inflamed eyelids.
On sale we can find also sprays to be sprayed directly on closed eyelids. Liposomes (the spray particles) deposit on eyelids and spread on the corneal surface thanks to the eyelid movement.
Gel can be a good solution for those who don’t manage to put artificial tears on. Just keep in mind that it reduces the visual capacity, so it would be better to prefer it at night. While sleeping, our lacrimal production decreases. Therefore, those who already have a dry eye syndrome may wake up in the morning with a feeling of sand in the eye that will improve after rinsing.
Natural eye drops
Natural eye drops may be a winning choice. I refer to homeopathic eye drops in particular. In fact, these products are generally monodose, so without preservatives.
Besides, they contain homeopathic medications capable of pushing our organism towards its physiological balance.
Natural eye drops may contain:
Euphrasia in a homeopathic dilution can soothe the symptoms of eyelid irritation, including solid secretions on eyelashes. As I said, this symptom is due to lack of water in our lacrimal film.
Besides, Euphrasia has the capacity to reduce redness and gritty feeling of the eye.
Chamomilla in a homeopathic dilution calms down the hypersensitivity to pain. The eye is a structure very rich in nerve endings, so any harmful situation will provoke a very painful response.
Homeophatic eye drops often contain these two remedies together, or combined with other homeopathic medications. Let’s always ask the pharmacist for explanations on the medication that we’re buying!
Bryonia is the queen remedy for eye dryness. It’s extremely effective on dry eye syndrome, especially if it gets better with immobility and pressure on the eyeball.
I would suggest Bryonia 9CH, 5 granules 3 times a day.
Alumina is indicated for extreme eye dryness. We may try it if Bryonia wasn’t resolving.
Same as above: Alumina 9CH, 5 granules 3 times a day. Of course, this kind of therapy will have a longer duration.
Nux moschata is another remedy for extreme eye dryness with the addition of a great sleepiness (a typical pregnancy situation).
I would suggest Nux moschata 9CH, 5 granules 3 times a day.
These homeopathic remedies for dry eye syndrome are excellent for our mucosas in general, so they turn out to be very helpful also in case of menopause problems or syndroms like Sjogren’s.
Apis can be used when eye dryness is accompanied by swelling: the eyelid itches and seems to get better with a cold pack.
In this case we may take Apis 15CH, 5 granules every half an hour until the swelling disappears.
Ruta can be used when our eyes get tired of a continuous adjustment to focus because of dryness.
This problem may be related, for example, to an excessive use of the computer.
My suggestion would be Ruta 15CH, 5 granules 4 times a day.
Jaborandi is indicated when eye dryness is associated to visual disorders (like blurry vision) caused by excessive effort. Once again, this may be the case of VDU workers.
I would suggest Jaborandi 9CH, 5 granules 3-4 times a day.
CEDRUS LIBANI Glycerin Macerate
Glycerin Macerate of Cedrus libani is indicated for any kind of skin dryness. So it can help with eye dryness too.
This bud extract can drain our skin and mucosas by removing toxins that sedimented because of tissue dryness and made the situation worse.
We may try 50 drops in water, morning and evening.
Nutrition: tips for improving our health
Dry eye syndrome may have many reasons. Let’s not forget to drink! At least two liters a day are necessary to keep a good state of health.
Even more so, it’s important to drink if we suffer from eye dryness.
Another recommendation would be taking Omega-3 supplements. These fatty acids are antiinflammatory and can reduce the corneal irritation.
Besides, ophthalmic tests proved that the consumption of Omega-3 can increase the elasticity of our lacrimal film.
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