Ever heard of or experienced the inconvenience and discomfort of dry eye? Dry eye arises when the eye does not produce tears properly, evaporate too quickly or the consistency is incorrect. Inflammation may occur and if left untreated can lead to pain, ulcers, scars on the cornea and even some loss of vision. Daily activities seemingly easy can become difficult and even painful.
Importance of Tears
Tears are made by the lacrimal gland and are necessary for the health of your eyes. Tears keep your eyes free of dust and debris by keeping it moist and help protect from bacteria and eye infections. Tears consist of three major components, the outer oily lipid layer, the middle watery lacrimal layer and the inner mucous or mucin layer. Tears are also composed of proteins, electrolytes and vitamins.
What is dry eye?
There are two types of dry eye, aqueous tear deficient dry eye and Evaporative dry eye. Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye is a disorder in which the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough watery components of tears. Evaporative dry eye results from inflammation of the meibomian glands. These glands make the lipid part of the tears that slow evaporation.
Symptoms of dry eye are stinging or burning of the eye, sandy or gritty feeling, excess tears followed by dry eye periods, stringy discharge, pain and redness, episodes of blurred vision, heavy eyelids, unable to cry when distressed, contact lenses are uncomfortable, decreased tolerance for sustained visual attention, fatigue. Elderly people frequently experience dry eye, but dry eye can occur at any age. Both men and woman are affected.
Causes of Dry Eye
There are many causes of dry eye, and it can be temporary or chronic. Dry eye can be caused by medications, skin disease, diseases of the glands in the eyelid, pregnancy, vitamins, allergies, Dry eye can be associated with immune system disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, and many more.
What you should do
There are different treatments for the various causes of dry eye, if you think you may suffer from symptoms of dry eye consult an eye care professional to get an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment to avoid irreversible damage and start enjoying the activities you love again!