Dealing With Irritation and Dryness of Eyes
Q: Hi Doctor, my eyes feel gritty all the time, as if there is some dust particle in it. I wash it with tap water, but it does not go. It is more after I come back from my computer class. What can it be? Is it some infection? I am a student, 12 years old.
It’s likely that you are suffering from dryness in your eyes.
When our eyes are dry, they typically give a gritty feel. Occasionally, a few dust particles are also there which add up to the feeling of irritation and burning. Eyes may itch and get red.
How Do You Get Dry Eyes?
You may be blinking less than what is required. This is one of the commonest causes of dry eyes. These days, the screen time (watching T.V. , computer, ipad etc.) of kids has increased. It is an observed fact that we blink less while watching screens.
Importance of Blinking
Our eyes are exposed with outside air all the time, so it continuously gets dried up. Therefore, we have been provided with lubricating mechanism for our eyes. These include continuous secretion of tears by lacrimal glands. Tears contain lubricating oil, moisture and special protein molecules which help to moisten our eyes and keep any infections in check.
Each time we blink, our eyelid sweeps the cornea and covers it with a tear coating. So blinking is essential for both, cleaning and lubrication of the outermost layer of the eye (cornea).
So make it a habit to blink frequently, especially when you are on computer or T.V.
- Dry weather. Dry and cold winds make our skin and mucous membranes dry. A humidifier can be used to moisten the air at times when you are at home.
- Dryness of eyes can be a side effect of certain medications like antidepressants, antihistamines, beta- blockers and a few more.
- Inflammation of the rims of the eyelids (blepharitis) can also be associated with dry eyes. Here you will notice some redness and pain in the eyes, or in the rim of the eye.
Managing Dry Eyes
- Limit your screen hours. Make it a point to blink frequently when watching a screen.
- Use a humidifier whenever possible.
- Protect your eyes with some sunglasses if going out in dusty air.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables to boost up your immune system.
- Sleep well and enough to let your eyes be well rested.
- If required, artificial tears (Refresh Plus or Genteal drop 4 times daily), may be used for symptomatic relief.
If you have any pain, redness in eyes or reduction in vision, it is recommended you visit an eye specialist.