The eyes require constant lubrication to stay healthy. The tear film produced by the tear glands of the eyelid protect the eye from damage from foreign particles and from the friction of the eyelid rubbing against the surface of the eyeball. If you have ever tasted tears, you will know they are not just water. Tears are a complex solution made up of multiple components. The basic layers of the tear film are the aqueous (water), lipid (oily) and mucous layers; it also contains salt and many antibodies and other substances.
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic eye condition whereby the quantity or quality of tears is reduced.
George K. Johnson, OD sees many cases of dry eyes in Phoenix at Advanced EyeCare Center. There is treatment for dry eye.
Symptoms of dry eye include eye irritation, itching, a scratchy feeling, a foreign body sensation, red eyes, and sometimes watery eyes. Yes, excessive tearing can actually be a symptom of dry eye because, when the body senses eye irritation from an imbalanced tear film, it tries to compensate by over-producing tears. Unfortunately, since the tears are of poor quality, they don’t help enough to cure the dry eye syndrome.
What causes dry eyes?
Blepharitis – a chronic low-grade eyelid infection with inflammation – can cause the Meibomian glands to stop producing enough of the oily layer for the tear film. This tear film imbalance makes the tears evaporate too quickly, leading to evaporative dry eye. Another kind of dry eye is caused by mild dehydration, which is especially common during the dry summer heat. Dry eyes can also be the result of a side effect of certain medications or a complication of various systemic diseases. During your dry eye exam, your optometrist will examine your eyes and speak to you to try to uncover the potential causes of dry eye symptoms.
Treatment for Dry Eye
Dry eye treatment will be tailored to the patient, and dependent upon the underlying causes. If you have dry eyes, alleviating eye discomfort may be as simple as drinking more water, remembering to blink while using a computer, or switching contact lenses. You can try turning down the air conditioner, or at least pointing the direct blow away from your face, and try using a humidifier if your home or office is dry. Sometimes changing to a different medicine helps (always speak to your primary doctor before changing or reducing prescription medication.) Severe cases of dry eyes may require more aggressive treatments.
If you experience dry eye symptoms, speak to Dr. Johnson about dry eye management like lubricating eye drops, prescription eye medications, punctal plugs and antibiotic eye scrubs. Advanced EyeCare Center in Phoenix will work with you to individualize a treatment plan for your dry eyes.