Since I could not get off work right there and then, I asked my son to call me when the doctors were done with their tests. Two hours passed when I got to talk to him again.
"Mama," he said, "Its not glaucoma. The doctor said I have Dry Eye Syndrome." I gave a sigh of relief that it was not the worse case scenario that kept me on the edge of my seat. "The doctor said I may just be dehydrated, so she prescribed oral rehydration salts and told me to increase my liquid intake. I also have to get some eyedrops that I should use every 4 hours for two weeks," he added.
I tried to remember unusual symptoms that I may have overlooked. One week ago, my son complained of his eyes being extra-sensitive to bright light. He had to cover his eyes with a pillow before he even attempted to open them after waking up. I never thought it meant anything serious. Then he told me he had stringy mucus in his eyes. Again, I thought it could be nothing serious, and that he probably spent the day in an area where the pollution was bad.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome? And so I did my research. I read up on all online material I could get my hands on. I have to find out if there would be any other underlying cause for this Dry Eye Syndrome. So here I am, blogging about this disease that is affecting my college boy.
Dry Eye Syndrome may be caused by a variety of factors, and was discussed thoroughly in The Mayo Clinic website. I read about the symptoms that my son had - eye pain, stringy mucus, and sensitivity to light. The Mayo Clinic website provided easy to understand explanation of the symptoms, causes and treatment modalities. I am sharing with you very helpful information that I got from their website.
- Stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes (My son had this symptom)
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes (My son had this symptom)
- Increased eye irritation from smoke or wind
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light (My son had this symptom)
- Eye redness
- A sensation of having something in your eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Periods of excessive tearing
- Blurred vision, often worsening at the end of the day or after focusing for a prolonged period.
- Poor tear quality
- Tears have three components - oil, water and mucus. A deficiency in any of these three components can lead to dry eyes
- Decreased tear production (when you are unable to produce enough tears) are common in people over 50; postmenopausal women; may be associated with some medical conditions such as diabetes (this disease runs in our family), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid disorders (this disease runs in our family too) and Vitamin A deficiency. Decreased tear production may also be caused by laser eye surgery and tear gland damage.
- Some drugs that use to treat high blood pressure
- Antihistamines and decongestants (My son uses these medications for his allergic rhinitis)
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Certain anti-depresents
- Iso-tretinoin type drugs for treatment of acne
- Dry air
- Tasks that require enough concentration that you blink less often
The Mayo Clinic website discusses about treating the underlying cause of Dry Eyes Syndrome. You may check it out for more in depth information.
My son was prescribed eye drops (GenTeal), 1-2 drops every 4 hours for two weeks. I have to make him learn to use a warm washcloth over his eyes and massage the corner of his eyes where the oil (Meibomian) glands are. I will make him take a Vitamin A supplement regularly and encourage him to keep himself hydrated. Most importantly, I will be more vigilant in taking note of other symptoms that may point to either diabetes or thyroid disease which both run in the family.
My family's health is one of my top priorities. It is always a good thing to address the illness at an early stage than to put off the symptoms and regret it later on.
I hope I was able to give you some useful information today. Credits and thanks to Mayo Clinic.