Many people today are annoyed by or even suffering from “dry eyes” and not aware of what this is and how they can remedy it! Worse yet is that it may be a sign of general health issues that you should not be ignoring. If you have any of the symptoms in the title of this article, then you may be a patient with dry eyes! It affects people most frequently between the ages of 40 and up but even younger nowadays due to poor diet and medication usage.
What serious health issues might be related to dry eyes? What are its holistic (general health) implications? Dry eyes are what we call inflammatory disease. Inflammation is the basic cause of all human disease. When you have dry eyes it can be partially due to working on a computer for hours but since many other people do not have these symptoms, it clearly implies something that has happened to you. This something is usually an inflammatory process. If you have inflammation, you are also more likely to be at risk for conditions like: Arthritis (joint aches and pains), arteriosclerosis (decreased circulation that can lead to strokes and heart attacks), cataracts (which show up first as glary vision at night) as well as more minor things such as dry skin that form wrinkles early in life, as well as more frequent colds and sinus conditions.
How do we as holistic eye doctors treat this condition and help prevent the more serious consequences? First of all, the diagnosis of potential general inflammation will be made by noting that you have other signs such as:
- Tear tests for dry eyes, of which we have several.
- Early beginnings of cataracts (yellowing of the lens in the eye),
- Possible arterial changes which can lead to major health problems. These changes can be detected by DRI, digital retina imaging, which we have pioneered and introduced to eye care, over a decade ago and
- Evidence of dry skin.
- A history of arthritis of joint pains
What are some of the treatments and lifestyle changes we may recommend?
- Diets of more natural and less processed foods are essential if you have any real evidence of inflammatory disease.
- Omega 3 oils that are very highly concentrated and fished from safe waters, such as Pro-Omega D by Nordic Naturals.
- Reduced carbohydrate diets are essential if you have inflammatory disease evidence.
- Tear replacement drops for night time and even daytime use.
- Lid scrubs with baby shampoo and hot moist heat with massage are often miraculous for seniors!
- For severe dry eye, that indicates advanced disease, we may also prescribe medications for long term use. This however is a last choice, as it carries risks, as all medications do.
Think you might have dry eyes? Are your eyes hard to open in the mornings? Burning when working on a computer? Sandy feeling? Glare driving? Don’t ignore these symptoms as they may be an indication of more than just tired strained eyes!
Dr Anuja Joshi, Holistic Vision Care, Brewster NY 845- 279-6179 (for more information)