By: Dhananjay Kumar

New Delhi: Due to diminishing tear producing capacity, eyes are in the grip of troublesome medical condition called dryness syndrome. It has, in fact, assumed epidemic proportions, thanks to smog that happens during winter. Eye experts have issued warnings not to rub eyes to try alleviate dryness symptoms like irritation, foreign body sensation, mild pain in the eyes and blurred vision. Rubbing is resulting into severe eye infection, treatment of which takes a very long time.
Smog has precipitated dryness related distress in Delhi and NCT region. People are coming in droves for treatment of the condition. Dr. Prashaant Chaudhry, Head, Ophthalmology, Aakash Healthcare says, ‘minimizing eye contact with pollutants suspended in the air is the best way to avert the symptoms. Those who are suffering from persistent dryness of the eye or are using contact lenses need to take special caution. Pollutants can make their vision problematic. Dryness as a medical condition is rampant in Delhi and NCR areas. In elderly people its incidence is about whopping 50 percent. Even young people, about 5 percent, are found with this disorder. Dryness is the result of tear producing capacity of eyes being undermined due to various reasons.’
Dr. Chaudhry’s word of caution is- ‘never rub your eyes when dryness triggers symptoms like irritation. If you do, you are risking cornea of your eyes. While rubbing, you can leave scratch on the cornea where infection can occur from any source. Cornea’s infection lands you in a serious eye condition. It takes very long time to recover from infection which manifests itself in persistent redness of eyes and severe pain.’     Dryness in eyes occurs when they stop producing tears which are necessary for its cleaning and smooth movements. Symptoms of this condition includes blurred vision, itching and foreign body like sensation on blinking. Tears supplements are the remedy of dryness but there is a word of caution here also. Dr. Prashaant says, ‘Never go for cheap preservative enabled tear supplements. Long time use of such cheap tear supplement (eye drops) would be counterproductive. For long term use, only preservative free tear supplements are advisable.’ Dr. Prashaant says, ‘Tear producing capacity is undermined because of pollution or some co-morbidity and use of medicines.
Dryness syndrome is manageable but not curable. So prevention of symptoms triggering situations helps to a great extent. In smog situation, one should try to minimize eye contact with the pollutants. Protective glasses are a great help. Mobikers and scooterists, having this condition, must use visor fitted helmets to save eye contact with smog.’

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