With most of us working on a digital device and indoors for lengthy periods, dry eyes have become a common condition. Dry eye disease (DED) results when our tears evaporate too quickly or are not produced fast enough. A healthy layer of tears is essential for good comfortable vision. Good quality tears also protect our eyes from serious eye infections. A lack of tears is what results in dry eyes.
What causes dry eye syndrome?
This occurs when enough tears arenot produced to keep your eyes lubricated. Causes can be a dry environment, computer use, ageing, hormonal changes, or certain types of medication.
What makes up our tear film?
Our tears consist of three layers, each layer serves a vital importance aiding good vision and comfort. The inner most layer consists of mucin and is produced by specialized cells on the inside of your eyelids. The mucin layer main purpose is to aid the middle water (aqueous) layer to maintain hydration of the cornea. The aqueous layer is produced by the lacrimal glands, this gland is located above and towards the outside of the eye. The outer lipid layer helps to prevent evaporation of the aqueous layer. The lipid layer is produced by the meibomian glands which are located within your upper and lower eyelids. Dry eye disease (DED) results when any or all of these three layers are compromised.
Dry eye symptoms
Symptoms of dry eye can include a sting or a feeling of burn in your eyes. Many experience symptoms on an airplane where the air is dry, in air-conditioned rooms, while riding a bike, or after looking at a computer screen for hours.
Other symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision
- Tired eyes
- Red eyes
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Contact lens discomfort
- Irritation from wind or smoke
- Sandy or gritty eyes
When to see a doctor for dry eyes?
Yoursymptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. It is always best to visit your optometrist to have a full dry eye assessment as your symptoms may not always correlate with the severity of your disease. Chronic dry eye can reduce corneal sensation and hence your symptoms. This may predispose you to increased risk of infections. Left untreated for too long, your sight can be damaged. Not only that – these symptoms can also be an indication of other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjögren’s syndrome and your eye doctor may refer you to another doctor to determine if he/she suspects an autoimmune condition.
How to cure dry eyes?
To keep your vision in excellent shape, we recommend visiting an eye care professional regularly. At our clinics in Mississauga and Brampton, we offer many dry eye syndrome treatments that target the specific causes. There’s no reason to suffer longer, we can customize a treatment plan for you. Contact us to book an appointment and find out what treatment options are best for you.