What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic, progressive disorder that causes a myriad of symptoms and can lead to blurred vision and even vision loss. Those symptoms include: dryness, burning, redness, excessive watering, fluctuating vision, tired eyes, and feeling of something in your eyes.

What causes dry eye syndrome?

The eyes need a consistent, high-quality coating called the tear film, in order to keep their surfaces healthy and comfortable and to provide clear vision. That tear film consists of 3 layers: a sticky mucin layer that connects the tear film to the cornea, a watery aqueous layer that bathes the cornea and sharpens vision, and an oily lipid layer that coats the tear film and keeps air from evaporating the watery layer.

DES is caused when a person doesn’t have enough tears (tear deficiency dry eye) or when a person’s tears dry off the eye surface too quickly (evaporative dry eye) or a combination of them.

Tear deficiency dry eye happens when the lacrimal gland does not work properly. Common cause are age, inflammation, certain medications like anti-histamines, and the auto-immune disease called Sjogren’s Syndrome, and common treatments are artificial tears, omega-3 fatty acid supplements, prescription medicine drops, and punctual plugs.

Evaporative dry eye happens when the tear film evaporates off the eye surface too quickly in-between blinks, and it is caused when the oil producing glands within the eyelids (meibomian glands) do not function properly. Common causes are inflammation, age, and skin conditions like rosacea, and common treatments include oil-based artificial tears, anti-inflammatory prescription medicine drops and pills, heat and compression masks, intense pulsed light therapy, and thermo-electric heat therapy, like MiBoFlo.

Factors that worsen dry eye symptoms: Aging, Menopause, Screen time, Contact lens wear, LASIK surgery, Moving air like wind, fans, HVAC, Health conditions like diabetes and thyroid disease, and Smoking.

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