It’s an idle Sunday afternoon. The Shah family have cozied up for their weekly movie time. After a heated argument, they all finally settle down on the movie – its seven-year-old Mitali’s choice this week: the Disney animated movie Bambi.
Just as Bambi’s mother gets shot by the hunters, Mitali squeals, “Daddy are you crying?”
Mrs. Shah turns to look at her husband and snickers, while Mr. Shah quickly wipes off his tear.
“Off course not”, Mr. Shah justifies, “It’s because I’ve got dry eyes.”
Normally the eyes are continuously bathed in tears that are produced at a slow and steady rate. The ones that flood our eyes when we chop onions or have our hearts saddened are different from these constant slow ones. Dry Eyes occur when our eyes are not able to provide adequate moisture for our eyes. Our tears may be inadequate either because our eyes don’t produce sufficient tears or the tears that are produced are of a poor quality.
“Oh come on Daddy”, Mitali rolled her eyes.
“If you have dry eyes, why do you have tears rolling down your eyes?”
Though it sounds unlikely that tearing would be caused by dry eyes, this does happen. When the eye does not get lubricated sufficiently, it gets irritated. This irritation then prompts the tear glands to secrete excess amount of tears which over flow from the eye.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes are:
- Stinging / Burning / Scratching sensation
- Stringy mucus in and around the eye
- Redness of Eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurriness of Vision especially at the end of the day
- Fatigue in the eyes
- Sensation of having something in the eye
- Increased irritation in eye from wind or smoke
After a few minutes of the movie, Mitali again turned to her father, “But Daddy”. Mr. Shah sighed, looked at his daughter’s face that sparkled with curiosity, paused the movie and reluctantly asked, “Yes dear?”.
“How do you get dry eyes Daddy? Is it because you never cry?”
Dry eyes are caused by a number of reasons. The most common causes are:
- Age: People above 60 years commonly suffer from dry eyes
- Medications: Certain medications like blood pressure medications, anti-histamines for allergies, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety, pain relievers, etc.
- Other diseases like thyroid disorders, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (a disease of the joints) etc. can leave you with a tendency for dry eyes.
- Exposure to smoke, wind, large intervals of staring at TV/computer screens without blinking can all contribute to dry eyes.
- Lasik, long term use of contact lenses etc. can also cause your eyes to go dry.
“So what will you do now? Will you water them every morning along with the plants?” Mitali’s torrent of questions had begun to wear down Mr. Shah’s patience by now.
“No Mitali,” he explained, “I will use artificial tears.”
Mrs. Shah saw the rising impatience on her husband’s face and hurried to save the situation before it went out of hand.
“Mitali, Daddy was crying because he felt sad for Bambi who got separated from his mother. Daddy was worried about who will look after little Bambi now.”
“Why? Bambi also has a strong Daddy like mine. He will look after Bambi. Don’t you worry Daddy.” Mr. Shah just hugged Mitali and winked at his wife for rescuing him!