Dry eye is one of the most common conditions diagnosed by eye doctors, and is characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eye and dryness of the eye's corneal surface.
This can happen when the eye doesn't produce enough tears to keep its exposed surface moist. If the cornea dries out, it can ulcerate (break down and become scratched), giving bacteria, viruses, and other harmful organisms tiny hiding places in which to multiply.
There are also good bacteria that support eye health. Only recently have scientists concluded that the eye does, indeed, harbor a "core" microbiome. In 2016 researchers at the National Eye Institute found a resident bacterium, Corynebacterium mastitidis (C. mast), that stimulates immune cells to produce and release antimicrobial factors that kill harmful microbes into the tears. It has been suggested that doctors should start considering the risks to the microbiome when prescribing antibiotics, as they may kill good bacteria that are providing a benefit to the eyes.
In a recent study it was found that antibiotics are used to treat 60% of acute conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) even though viral infections are the most likely causes of pink eye, and not treatable with antibiotics. Even in cases that are caused by bad bacteria typically resolve in 7-10 days without antibiotic treatments.
Dry eyes can also happen because the composition of the tears is abnormal. If you've ever tasted your own tears, you know that they're not just made up of water--they also contain sodium, making them taste salty, and many other components. If the proportions of these components change, the tear film won't function effectively.
Dry eye occurs if the tear film evaporates too quickly. Glands along the edges of the eyelids produce oil, which slows the rate at which the tear film evaporates. If these glands become inflamed or infected, they may produce too little oil.
Sometimes the eyelids are unable to distribute the tear film evenly over the eye's surface. The eyelids may be droopy, a condition called eyelid ptosis, so that the person is unable to close the eyes properly or blink normally. Or the tear film may not contain enough mucus to distribute the tears evenly.
Many medications cause dry eye such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants, allergy medications, birth control pills, prescription estrogen hormone replacements, acid and proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole, antidepressants, prednisone, blood pressure medicines (including beta blockers and diuretics), and chemotherapy drugs.
Also long-term use of contact lenses and infrequent blinking due to staring at computer screens or electronic devices for long periods of time and complications resulting from autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and psoriasis can affect eye moisture.
Dry eye occurs with fat malabsorption or deficiency such as gallbladder dysfunction or removal and nutritional deficiencies (like vitamin A or vitamin B12 deficiency). LypoGold has the digestive enzyme lipase (by Enzymedica) that helps break down fats better. Taking a digestive enzyme and probiotic can also aid digestion and absorption of nutrients.
More than 50% of patients with diabetes experience dry eye syndrome.
Obviously identifying the underlying causes with your Holistic Practitioner is important to properly treat Dry Eye Syndrome. However these are a few suggestions I have made to my patients which have been significantly helpful.
Make sure you are drinking enough water. Many people don’t because they don’t want to urinate as often and get dehydrated.
- Omega 3-6-9 formula helps to moisten eye tissues and decrease inflammation from the inside out. Take as directed on label.
- Hyaluronic acid 200mg 2x day moisturize skin from the inside out
- Similisan Dry Eye formula- put in eyes throughout the day as often as needed
- Colloidal silver 10 ppm– put a drop in each eye2 x day to prevent bacterial or viral infections without disturbing the eye microbiome and to moisten the eyes.
- Castor oil – put 1 drop in each eye before bed. Anti-inflammatory, puts a barrier between the eye lid and cornea and adds moisture to eye tissue topically as you sleep
- Curcumin Meriva 500mg is a natural anti-inflammatory. Take 3 x day just before meals.
For Women estrogen dominance / hormone imbalance particularly after menopause is a factor for dry eyes. To help achieve hormonal balance use the herb Vitex 2 caps in the morning or Natural Progesterone cream- apply ¼ tsp to body 2 x day.
As always seek professional advice from your health practitioner before starting any treatment program. In-office and Telephone appointments are available at the Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242.
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center Seekonk, MA, 02771
Host Holistic Healthline Radio
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- Tags: Allergies, castor oil, Colloidal Silver, Curcumin, Dry eye syndrome, dry eyes, Hyaluronic acid, jane's blog, omega 3-6-9, Silver, Similisan