Frequently Asked Questions
Many people are unaware of the wear and tear of the visual system. Just like other systems in the body, the visual system gets depleted after use, and has to be replenished. By providing the right nutrients to your body, the visual system will go from zero to a hundred and will work at its optimum performance similar to how professional athletes’ maximize their physical endurance by fuelling their body with the right foods.
When the eyes are depleted from their essential nutrients, eye problems will begin to arise and develop. Consistent wear and tear of the eye will cause serious eye diseases and disorders that could be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle and proper eye nutrition.
The International Dry Eye Workshop defines Dry eye disease (DED) as, “A multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface. It is accompanied by increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface.”
Dry Eye Syndrome happens when your tears aren’t able to provide the necessary lubrication for your eyes. Your tear ducts are not performing to the best of their ability as they do not produce the right number of tears or the quality of the tears is inadequate and of poor quality (or both).
Tears are there to keep your eyes working seamlessly and comfortably. They help focus light so you can have clear vision and protect the eyes from environmental factors such as dirt and dust that cause irritation and they possess antimicrobial compounds that protect from infections.
When we blink a layer of tears which is called “tear film” will spread across the outer layer of the eye known as the cornea.
There is a lot of conversation around the topics of Blue light, the light that emanates from our digital devices. The display screens of our smartphones, computers, tablets and other devices emit significant amounts of blue light, however, the HEV light (High Energy Visible Light) which has a number of negative biological effects on the eye and is primarily emitted from the sun, is only about a fraction of that emitted from the sun. What the exact fraction is, is inconclusive and depends on the research study you are reading.
A lot of people claim that blue light can lead to eye disease and have countless solutions and products for you to buy to protect yourself from the blue light of your devices. However, the symptoms of dry eye disease and other problems grouped under “Digital Eye Strain” and “Computer Vision Syndrome” are mainly caused by how we use our devices.
When we are staring at our screens, we blink less…about 50% less. On average, humans blink about 15 times per minute. This is known as our “Blink Rate” which is significantly impacted by the wide-eyed focus we give to our screens. When we blink less, our eye is less lubricated, causing our eyes to become dry, itchy, red and of course fatigued.
When our eyes are tired, we need to blink, take a break and replenish them with the proper nutrients.
There are many different reasons why one develops dry eye disease. The group who is at highest risk of developing this disease are women, especially those undergoing pregnancy or menopause. The natural ageing process is another risk factor which raises the chances of developing dry eye syndrome. Several medications like antihistamines, environmental factors such as exposure to air conditioning and pre-existing conditions like Sjogren’s disease can trigger the onset of symptoms or worsen existing symptoms. Hormonal changes are to blame for the high prevalence of dry eye amongst women (almost double the rate compared to males) and other diseases and medications affect the mucous and aqueous production due to other imbalances. For example, Sjogren’s disease causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the body’s own cells and tissues including the tear glands.
Recently due to the excess use and dependency on digital devices, dry eye syndrome has been spotted in children as young as 4 years old. This is mainly due to the decreased blinking rate caused by the use of tablets and other digital devices. Same goes for heavy users of digital devices of all age groups such as gamers, white-collar workers, and students.
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