Pain and anxiety when the tears run dry
Although the condition of dry eyes is not usually sight-threatening, it can severely affect the quality of life. Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist James Pan, medical director at Nobel Eye and Vision Centre said that patients may complain of symptoms such as eye redness, blurred vision and the sensation of a foreign object in the eye, which can make it difficult for them to go about their daily activities.
In severe cases, dry eye may lead to ocular surface inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal infection or scarring. In Singapore, environmental factors from modern lifestyle habits play a large role in the rising number of dry eye cases. Dr Pan explained that the act of using phones in the dark or staring at a screen for prolonged periods, continuous use of contact lens, and not having proper nutrition or sleep can affect our eyes. Other factors that can contribute to dry eye include old age, hormones, systemic conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as medications such as anti‐histamines and decongestants.
While there is no cure for most types of dry eyes currently, most cases are mild and can be treated with over-the-counter eye lubricants. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, one should consider seeing a doctor or an ophthalmologist, as advised by Dr Pan.