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In Xerophthalmia or dry eye syndrome, the eye doesn't produce enough tears or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate quickly. Dry eye syndrome is common fallout of increasing age since the body produces less oil over time. The oil deficiency has a bearing on the tear film since the water layer over the eye dries faster. This condition is more pronounced in women than men. Women suffering from dry skin or menopausal symptoms may notice dry eyes too.

Causes for dry eyes
  • Hot, dry and windy climate
  • High altitudes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Side effect to medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills
  • Insufficient blinking such as when you are reading or working on the computer
  • Incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease or deficiency of the tear-producing glands
  • Contact lens intolerance can also be a symptom of dry eye.

Treating Xerophthalmia

A condition of dry eyes is determined by a physician who will measure the production, evaporation rate and quality of tear film. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this. An ophthalmologist can look at the film of tears on your eye using a slit lamp (bio-microscope). Treatment for dry eyes involves trying to preserve as much of the eye's natural moisture as possible. Eye drops act as artificial tears and provide temporary relief. Anti-inflammatory agents are prescribed for more severe cases of dry eyes.

While topical steroids can be used for inflammation, they can cause side effects after prolonged use. Some forms of dry eye syndrome benefit from the placement of tiny plugs in the ducts that drain tears from the eye. These special plugs trap the tears on the eye, keeping it moist. This may be done on a temporary basis with a dissolvable collagen plug or permanently with a silicone plug. For severe cases, special goggles called moisture-chamber spectacles can be worn.

  • Make a conscious effort to blink regularly so as to spread the tears more evenly.
  • Maintain indoor humidity of about 30 - 50%.
  • Keep the body well hydrated with plenty of fluids and water.
  • Do not ignore burning sensations in the eyes or persistent and painful grittiness. Avoid rubbing the eyes.
  • Wear sunglasses with maximum ultraviolet protection.
  • Wear proper eye safety equipment when necessary.
  • If you suffer from dry eyes, inform your health care provider when he prescribes medications for other ills.

Bell's Palsy

Bell's Palsy is a medical condition characterized by weakened or paralyzed facial muscles. This is not a permanent change but lasts a month or more. Bell's Palsy is named after the Scottish surgeon Sir Charles Bell who studied the innervation of facial muscles. Anyone can suffer from Ball's Palsy but the risk is more for those suffering from diabetes or compromised immune systems. The actual cause of Bell's palsy is not known. There is inflammation in tbe facial nerves. It is essential to take care of the eyes when there is paralyis of the facial muscles.

Symptoms of Bell's Palsy come on suddenly and include dry eye syndrome and tingling around the lips. The degree of paralysis of the facial nerve progressively intensifies. The face may take on a droopy appearance. There is facial stiffness and pain behindm the ears. There may be loss of taste. There may be weakness on the side of the face that is affected by Bell's Palsy. Chewing food and smiling may become difficult.

ENMG or Electromyography aids in examining the extent and severity of the damage to the face muscles. Antiviral medications and steroids are often prescribed for those suffering from Bell's Palsy.

Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a condition caused by inflammation of the small bile ducts in the liver, leading to cirrhosis. Inflammation later spreads and destroys liver cells. This leads to scarring and toxicity arising out of trapped bile. This condition is not caused by alcohol or drug. It is an autoimmune disorder that is more likely to affect women than men.

Primary biliary cirrhosis advances over the years and often the patient may not experience any symptoms and may not look ill at all. Persons suffering from PBC tend to feel severe fatigue. There may be severe itching on the skin. Hyperpigmentation may be noticed on the skin of a person suffering from PBC. There may be thyroid problems and joint pains. Dry Eye syndrome is also noticed. Another symptom of Primary biliary cirrhosis is enlarged abdomen. The patient may notice easy bruising and bleeding. Pain is felt in the abdomen and liver areas. Renal stones and gallstones may develop. As the condition worsens, there may be softening of the bones making them susceptible to fractures. Jaundice is often noticed in patients suffering from Primary biliary cirrhosis. It also results in digestive problems and infection of the urinary tract.

An alkaline phosphatase activity test can help diagnose PBC. Liver function tests and other diagnostic tests such as serum cholesterol and lipoproteins are also conducted. A liver biopsy can aid the physician in understanding the severity and extent of liver damage. Any thyroid malfunction is corrected with thyroid hormone. Corticosteroids are prescribed to patients suffering from Primary biliary cirrhosis. Cholestyramine may be effective in reducing the itching. Liver transplantation is the final alternative when there are signs of liver failure such as GI bleeding, jaundice and accumulation of fluid in the abdomen.

  • Quit smoking
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids
  • Reduce alcohol, caffeine
  • Increase Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
Tags: #Xerophthalmia #Bell's Palsy #Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 22, 2024