Dry eye disease refers to your eyes drying, characterized by chronic lack of moisture and lubrication on your eye’s surface. There are several reasons for the dryness. It could be that your ducts are not producing enough tears or that the tears produced are of low quality. The effects of this may be a subtle eye irritation or a severe inflammation and scarring on the front of your eye.
Unfortunately, most people do not even realize that they have dry eyes. A recent report indicates that the dry eye prevalence is 5-50 percent across various world populations. The study showed that many people dismiss the syndrome and take it for a moderate irritation. But failure to address the issue sometimes escalates into severe symptoms.
The symptoms of dry eye include:
A sensation of dryness
An aching sensation
Heaviness in the eyes
A feeling of having something like sand or grit in your eyes
Ironically, watery eyes are a symptom of dryness. This happens because the excessive dryness stimulates the overproduction of tears. But, the wateriness is often short-lived. The tears do not stick long enough to solve the dryness problem.
The causes of dry eye are both related to tear production. It’s all about the quality and the quantity of the tears. An imbalance in tears produced causes them to dry out fast, leaving the eyes dry. Also, if the tears produced are insufficient, the surface of the eye is left to dry.
The tear film is made up of three layers: mucus, water, and oil. Failure to produce them in the proper ratios is problematic.
The oil, which is the top layer, smooths out the tear surface. It also covers the eye to slow the rate of evaporation. If the oil produced is not enough, your eyes start to dry out quickly.
The middle layer is a combination of water and salt. Its role is to cleanse your eyes and remove any particles and irritants. Without enough water, the oil and mucus layers touch each other, resulting in a stringy discharge.
The third layer is mucus. It moves the tears around the eyes evenly, ensuring that each part is covered. Inadequate mucus leads to some irritating dry patches on the surface of the eye.
About the reduced quantity of tears, by the time a person gets to age 40, tear production has gone down. But, when it gets to a certain point, your eyes may become dry up to the point that they irritate and inflame easily. The condition is common among women, especially because of hormonal changes during menopause.
Tear production may lessen prompted by diabetes, autoimmune diseases, vitamin A deficiencies, and refractive surgeries like LASIK. But, with LASIK, the effects are usually temporary.
Dry eye syndrome is quite common, but most people dismiss it as a temporary situation that fades away. But, dry eye is severe and needs medical intervention.
Find out more about dry eye & treatments, contact Eye Care Center in Richmond, Lexington, Beattyville, Irvine, and McKee, Kentucky at 859-208-2020.