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Dry Eyes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

The eyes contain tears that help provide moisture and lubrication, keeping the eyes comfortable. Tears are composed of water for the moisture, oils to allow lubrication, and mucus to allow even spreading. 

The tears have antibodies and proteins that help prevent infections. Special glands found around the eyes produce the ingredients. Dry eye occurs when the tear system fails to work efficiently.


Tears on the Eye Surface

A consistent and adequate layer of tears on the eye surface helps keep the eyes healthy and comfortable. The tears keep the surface moist, washing away debris, dust, and microorganisms that can damage the cornea, leading to eye infections. 

Tear lipids help protect the tear film from evaporating too fast while increasing lubrication. Mucin provides a base that spreads the tears across the eye surface. Inadequate tear production upsets this delicate balance. Cataract surgery or LASIK can cause dry eye syndrome.  


Causes of Dry Eye

Dry eye condition results from a lack of balance in the tear production and flow system. It can also result from the natural aging process and diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and collagen vascular diseases. 

The condition can also be a side effect of using certain medications such as antihistamines. Disorders that prevent the eyelids from closing should also cause dry eyes. Windy weather, smoking, using an air conditioner or heater, and prolonged digital device use can cause dry eyes.


Symptoms of Dry Eye

Some signs indicate that a person has a dry eye condition. The signs include a gritty feeling, itching, redness, a sensation of something in the eye, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. In some cases, too many tears can characterize dry eye conditions. 

The reflex tearing occurs due to a lack of moisture that irritates the eye. The body sends a signal to the nervous system to create more lubrication. The production of a flood of tears can make up for the dry condition. These tears do not offer lubrication, making them ineffective for alleviating dry eyes. 


Treatment for Dry Eye

There are several ways to treat dry eye symptoms. It is necessary to talk to a doctor for a proper diagnosis and find the right treatment for your condition. Treatments include using artificial tear drops or ointments to add moisture to the eyes using testosterone cream and LipiFlow® therapy. 

Different prescription eye drops can also boost the production of tears. Other treatments are temporary punctal occlusion and punctal occlusion by cautery. An eye specialist will determine whether you need temporary or permanent plugs.


Categories of Dry Eye Condition

Dry eye conditions can fall into categories depending on the affected function. When the meibomian glands fail to produce enough oil, it can lead to fast evaporation of the tear film. 

This category is known as evaporative dry eye, and the condition is called meibomian gland dysfunction. Another category occurs when the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough fluid to keep the eyes moist. This is the aqueous deficiency dry eye condition. 

The dry eye condition is usually chronic and progressive, and depending on the severity, it may not be treatable. 

To find out the best treatment for your condition, visit Primary Vision Care at our offices in Newark, Lancaster, Mount Vernon, Wilmington, or Waynesville, Ohio. You can call (740) 299-1155, (740) 654-9909, (740) 393-6010, (937) 382-4933, or (513) 897-2211 today to schedule an appointment.

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