Tuesday , May 18 2021

Beware of dry eyes – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Most of us try to beat the heat by moving to a cooler place with air conditioners and refrigerators. On average, we might spend about 14 to 16 hours a day in an air-conditioned room. But these artificial changes in air and temperature caused by AC harm our health, especially our eyes. People who work in air-conditioned rooms often complain of dryness, irritation, brittleness, stickiness, itching, burning and watery eyes. This is called dry eye syndrome or dry eye syndrome.

Why AC causes dry eyes
Appropriate quality and quantity of tears in the eyes are necessary for the smooth functioning of the eyes. Dry eye syndrome is a change in the quality or quantity of three layers of tear film of fat (outer), water / water layer (middle) and protein (inner).

In a room with air conditioners, especially at very low temperatures, the air becomes extremely dry and causes evaporation from the aqueous layer of the tear film, which leads to evaporation of dry eyes. After that, long-term exposure to such AC can also change the production of lipids from the glands on the eyelids, causing a change in the quality and quantity of the tear film, and thus dry eyes. Without lubrication, the eyes are susceptible to inflammation and infection.
Poor AC hygiene is one of the main causes of the spread of viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Main symptoms
Burns, dryness, itching, pain, heaviness, watery eyes and blurred vision. Reading speed can be slowed down for those with dry eyes.


  • Aging and menopause in women.
  • Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, thyroid disorders and vitamin A deficiency.
  • Side effects of certain medications such as antihistamines.
  • Laser eye surgery, although the symptoms of dry eyes associated with this procedure are usually temporary.
  • Damage to the lacrimal glands due to inflammation or radiation.
  • Diseases that affect your ability to form tears, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, vascular collagen diseases.
  • Problems that do not allow closing the lid.
  • It is likely that people in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai will be diagnosed with dry eyes than other cities with relatively less air pollution.
  • Staring for a long time or using computers or smartphones.


  • Reduce the number of hours you use AC. Set the temperature to about 23 degrees and above.
  • Avoid turning to the AC.
  • Place an open container of water in the corner of the room to maintain humidity.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Frequent conscious blinking when using a computer or phone will help distribute the tear film.
  • Sleep 7-8 hours.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice to help your body create and secrete more tears and reduce eye irritation.

The writer is the regional head – Clinical Services, Eye Hospital Dr. Agarwal

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