In order to maintain eye health, your eyes must continually produce and drain tears. Tears keep the eyes lubricated, help heal wounds and protect against eye infection.
Having dry eye means your eyes will produce insufficient or poor quality tears, making it difficult or impossible to keep the eye surface lubricated and comfortable.
Tear Film Layers
Tear film is comprised of three layers, each with its own function.
- Lipid: Outer, oily layer that keeps tears from evaporating too quickly
- Aqueous: Middle layer that nourishes the cornea and conjunctiva
- Mucin: Bottom layer that helps to keep the tears spread evenly over the eye
Symptoms of Dry Eye
- Scratchy or sandy feeling
- Feeling as if something is in the eye
- Excessive tears that run down your cheeks
- Dry sensation
- Stringy discharge
- Eyelid heaviness
- Blurred vision
- Vision loss (uncommon)
Reasons for Dry Eye
- Aging and reduced tear production
- Poor quality tears
- Hormones – menopause/birth control pills
- Dry air
- Medications (antihistamines, nasal decongestants, tranquilizers, anti-depressant drugs)
- Diseases (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome)
Treatment for Dry Eye
- Artificial tears
- Sterile ointments
- Punctal plugs or cauterization to temporarily or permanently close the tear drains
If you are prone to dry eye, it is advisable to avoid going outdoors when it is especially windy or dry and always wear wrap-around sunglasses when outdoors.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of dry eye, contact us today to schedule an eye exam in one of our three convenient OCB locations in Boston, Waltham or Danvers, Massachusetts.