Because There’s A Need
Dry eye symptoms are the most common reason why people head into their eye doctor’s office.
Almost five million Americans over the age of 50 have visited their eye doctor with dry eye symptoms, with the highest incidence among post-menopausal women. Aside from being annoying and uncomfortable, when left untreated, dry eye can cause light sensitivity and blurred vision. Also, dry eyes are more susceptible to scratches or infection.
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition. In most cases, dry eyes can be treated successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and, occasionally, sharper vision as well.
How To Recognize Dry Eye Syndrome
The most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome are burning, pain, and redness in the eyes. There are other common symptoms that include watery tearing or stringy mucus in the eyes, the feeling of having sand in your eye, and/or blurry vision. And you may find that your eyes get tired faster than they used to or that you have difficulty reading, sitting at the computer, or using another device for long periods of time.
Although it’s uncomfortable, dry eye syndrome almost never causes permanent vision loss.
Why Eyes Get Dry
Tears have three layers – an oily outer layer, a watery middle layer, and the inner mucus layer. If the glands that produce these different elements of your tears are inflamed or don’t produce enough water, oil, or mucus, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. For example, when oil is missing from your tears, they evaporate more quickly, and your eyes cannot maintain a steady supply of moisture.
Our eyes have several sources of moisture. One is the lacrimal gland, located in the upper outer quadrant of the eye. This is the gland that produces buckets of tears if you cry or get something in your eye.
Another source of moisture is the network of glands embedded in the conjunctiva (the white surface of the eye and the undersurface of the eyelids). This network of glands produces water and mucus
The glands at the edge of the eyelids produce an oily substance which are another form of moisture.
The combination of water, mucus, and oil from these last two sources make up the tear film on the eye surface which the eye needs to see properly. Basically, each time you blink, you reapply a fresh wet surface.
If My Eyes Are Dry Why Are They Always Tearing Up?
The lack of moisture caused by dry eye syndrome irritates your eye which sends a distress signal through your nervous system for more lubrication. Your body then sends a flood of tears to try to make up for the dryness. Unfortunately, these tears are mostly water and not the tri-level tears your eyes need to function, so they don’t solve the problem. These are the tears that show up if you get a foreign object in your eye. They can wash debris away, but they can’t coat your eye’s surface like it needs.
Who Gets Dry Eyes
As indicated earlier, age is a contributing factor to dry eye syndrome. The following underlying conditions can also increase your risk:
- chronic allergies (or the side effects of allergy medication)
- thyroid disease or other conditions that push the eyes forward
- lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other immune system disorders
What Happens When I See the Dry Eye Specialist?
After describing your symptoms, work, and lifestyle, you’ll undergo tests that examine the amount of tears in your eyes. After considering all the information and test results, Dr. Emmert-Buck will begin a course of treatment to solve your dry eye syndrome.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you can feel better! Make your appointment with the Dry Eye Specialist today!