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Glaucoma and Dry Eyes: Double Trouble

Eye diseases  are common affecting around 2.2 billion people said the UN health agency in 2019. Glaucoma and Dry Eyes are some of the most prominent eye problems people face and a person can both of these conditions at once. Like open-angle glaucoma, ageing makes dry eye syndrome more severe. Research show that 40-50 per cent of patients with glaucoma have dry eye syndrome, and women are more likely to have it than men.

Overview on Glaucoma and Dry Eyes

Glaucoma is an condition that affects the optic nerve in the eye. Typically happens as fluid gathers in the front of the eye. The extra fluid raises the eye pressure and damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60. Yet glaucoma blindness is preventable with early diagnosis. On the other hand, dry eyes or dry eye syndrome is a disease wherein enough tears cannot be produced by the eyes. Symptoms of dry eye differ from individual to individual. Symptoms may come and go and often they are mild or subtle.

Treating Dry Eye and Glaucoma

Treating two conditions may be a challenge for both the patient and the doctor. Treatment of the dry eye syndrome is very important both for the comfort of the patient and for the long-term surface protection of the eye. But since glaucoma can cause vision loss, the glaucoma is usually first treated when a patient has both dry eye syndrome and glaucoma. Addressing glaucoma care almost always takes priority over resolving the dry eye condition — though the dry eye condition is troubling the patient more.

Glaucoma diagnosis can be changed when there is also dry eye. The ophthalmologist may suggest switching to preservative free glaucoma medicines, for example. Some choices include using eye drops in order to minimize the amount of preservatives layered on the eye surface and using laser therapy instead of, or as a supplement to, eye drops. Glaucoma and dry eye disease are both chronic disorders, and its  treatment is significant. Patients with glaucoma and dry eye disease have a lot to handle. Since treating both often requires using eye drops, it can be difficult for patients to adhere to the procedure as they may get confused or lose track of which eye drop is for which disease.

However, sustaining a safe tear surface improves relaxation, encourages eye protection and even improves the success levels of some glaucoma surgeries. Dry eyes, like glaucoma, are not curable but manageable; all treatment needs a joint effort on the part of both the doctor and the patient.

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