Many individuals with diabetes know that it can cause several eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy. Studies have also shown a correlation between chronic health disease and dry eye syndrome, but some patients may not be aware of it.
Diabetes Affects the Nervous System
When diabetes mellitus affects the nervous system, it results in decreased sensation. This leads to patients with diabetes to experience decreased sensation in their hands and feet. Once the unmyelinated nerves leading into the the outermost layer of the cornea are compromised by the disease, decreased sensation can be experienced there as well. Moreover, there are reports stating that decreased corneal sensitivity caused by diabetes can lead to decreased tear production.
An Increased Need for Lubrication
Recently, researchers have found that keratoconjunctivitis sicca, commonly known as dryness of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the white of the eye, and cornea, the clear layer in front of the iris and pupil, is more common in diabetic patients. This translates into their increased need for ocular lubrication, the application of solutions specifically formulated to moisten eyes. This is used to relieve burning, irritation and discomfort. If you think diabetes is causing your dry eye, consult your eye doctor for an appropriate eye lubricant.
Treatments for Dry Eye
Although there is still no permanent cure for the condition, dry eye can be alleviated in a number of ways. Common treatment options include:
- Artificial tears: This over-the-counter (OTC) treatment can significantly alleviate the adverse effects of dry eye syndrome. Be sure to purchase preservative-free eye drops to avoid causing further irritation. Restasis is the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help increase tear production.
- Nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids can also help with your dry eye management. Best food sources are salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel. Vitamin A, B vitamins and zinc also assist in improving eye health.
For expert eye care solutions, look no further than Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry. Our team offers dry eye treatment, sports vision training, concussion therapy, myopia control and more. Call us at (703) 660-9494, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve patients in Falls Church, VA, and other nearby communities.