What is Dry Eye?
A lack of tears, improper lubrication, or tears draining too quickly from the eye result in a condition known as Dry Eye, a common problem that is easily diagnosed.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Here are some of the common causes of dry eye:
Aging: As we age, tear production decreases. Men and women of any age can be affected, however, after menopause and during pregnancy women are especially susceptible.
Contact Lenses: Wearing contact lenses often increases tear evaporation that can result in irritation, increased protein deposits, infection and discomfort. Dry Eye has been shown to be the leading cause of contact lens discomfort and reduced wear time.
Environment: Exposure to various environments can reduce eye lubrication. These include sunny, dry or windy conditions; heaters, dehumidifiers, fans or air conditioning; sand, dust or pollen, smoke, high altitudes; work settings and prolonged computer use.
Medications: A variety of medications reduce tear secretion. Some common examples are: decongestants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, beta-blockers, antidepressants, diuretics, pain relievers, oral medications and alcohol.
Surgery: Surgical procedures can disrupt the production of tears. Unless Dry Eye was present before surgery, post surgical dry eye is almost always temporary.
Autoimmune Disease: Many diseases and disorders can cause dry eye, such as Sjogren's Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn's Disease and Diabetes.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Tears are formed by tiny glands that surround the eye. The tear film is comprised of 3 layers:
- Lipid (Oil) - Prevents tear film evaporation
- Water - Contains water and nutrients
- Mucus - Spreads tear film evenly over the eye
Normal tear film: Lipids regulate the evaporation of the water layer. The volume and quality of the tear film on the surface of the eye is critical to maintain ocular surface health, duration of comfort and quality of vision.
Abnormal tear film: For a dry eye sufferer an abnormal tear film develops with a reduction of the lipids, water and mucin layers. Areas of dryness form causing surface damage to the eye
Find out if you have Dry Eye - take our Dry Eye Survey
If you are having Dry Eye symptoms, it is important that you discuss your symptoms with an eye care professional. Our office can perform a simple test to determine the severity of your Dry Eye and then recommend the best method of treatment designed specifically for you.