Dry eye is when your eyes do not make the right type of tears, when something affects one or more layers of the tear film or when your eyes don’t produce enough tears.
About Dry Eye
When you blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye, keeping the eye’s surface smooth and clear. The tear film is made of three layers, each with their own purpose: an oily layer, a watery layer and a mucus layer.
The oily layer makes the tear surface smooth and keeps tears from drying too quickly.
The watery layer makes up most of what we see as tears; this layer cleans the eye, washing away particles that don’t belong there
The mucus layer helps spread the watery layer over the eye’s surface, keeping it moist.
Dry Eye Causes & Symptoms
People tend to make fewer tears as they age due to hormonal changes. Other causes of dry eye include certain autoimmune diseases, blepharitis, meibomian gland disease, entropion and ectropion, being in smoke, wind or a dry climate, looking at a computer screen or reading for an extended time, having refractive surgery, taking certain medications, and using contact lenses.
Do you think you may have dry eye? Here are some common symptoms:
- You feel like your eyes are stinging and burning
- You have blurred vision, especially when reading
- It’s painful to wear contacts
- There’s a scratchy or gritty feeling, as if there’s something in your eye
- There are strings of mucus around your eyes
- Your eyes are red or irritated
- You have a lot of tears in your eyes (your eyes make more tears when they’re irritated)
Concerned About Dry Eyes?
It is best to see your doctor if you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, especially if they’re disrupting your lifestyle.
Dry Eye Treatments
In many cases you can effectively treat dry eyes at home with a warm compress, over-the-counter eye drops, by massaging your eyelids and using humidifiers to add moisture to the air inside. When these are not effective, we utilize technology in our office to help assess what will be most effective at minimizing your symptoms.
Based on your dry eye evaluation, we will offer treatment options which can ease the symptoms of dry eye, such as:
- Punctal Plugs
- Prescription Eye Drops or Supplements such as serum tears