It burns, it itches and it feels like tiny grains of sand over the pupils. Blinding sun, acrid exhaust fumes, airborne pollen, dust and computer flickering can trigger these unpleasant symptoms. Normally, lachrymal fluid rinses the foreign particles from the eye and supplies the eye with oxygen and nutrients.
But the wet film can run dry, leading to the well known feeling of having a grain of sand in your eye. The most common triggers are staring at the screen for too long, dry ambient air and car air-conditioning systems. Hormonal disorders and medications, such as birth control pills or beta blockers, can also cause these conditions.
However, the cause may be something other than insufficient lachrymal fluid production. Sometimes the consistency is not right. So-called “synthetic tears” are the best help for both forms. This is when drops or gels serve as tear replacements. The drops are poured into the lower conjunctiva sac. Then, with the eyelids shut, one should “roll” his/her eyes to distribute the substance.
Caution: Using drops for too long and too frequently can cause the eye to produce less and less lachrymal fluid. It is therefore important to discuss the causes with your doctor and remedy them when possible (changing pills, avoiding stimulants).
One more tip for recreation: Wear goggles when swimming in heavily chlorinated pools. Surgery should be considered as a last resort if topical treatment does not help.
Dr. Mehrle: "In the process, the draining lachrymal ducts are either completely or partially closed so that the lachrymal fluid does not flow out as fast."