Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. If your eyes do not make enough tears, it is called dry eye. You can also have dry eye if your eyes are not making the right type of tears.
When we blink, a tear film spreads over the eye and keeps the eye’s surface well lubricated. This keeps the eye comfortable and is important for good vision. The tear film is made up of three layers: an oily layer, a watery layer and a mucous layer. The oily layer keeps your tears from drying up too quickly and is made by glands located in the eyelid at the base of the eyelashes. The watery layer, which is the middle layer, makes up most of our tear film. This layer is made by the lacrimal glands, which are located underneath the upper eyelid. The mucous layer is the inner layer that helps spread the watery layer evenly over the eye’s surface.
Our eyes constantly make tears to keep our eyes moist and healthy. Our eyes increase tear production when we cry or when our eyes are irritated.
Symptoms of dry eyes often worsen in wind, near cigarette smoke or other irritants in the air, with prolonged reading or computer work, or when near a fan or air conditioner.
There are also many medical conditions and medications associated with dry eyes that your doctor can discuss more with you.
The treatment of dry eyes typically involves reducing aggravating factors in your environment and using artificial tear drops. In more severe cases, however, or those associated with other medical conditions, more advanced treatment may be required, including prescription medications or in rare cases, surgery.
Our doctors at the Eye Clinic of Meridian have years of experience in diagnosis and treating dry eyes. If you think you may suffer from dry eyes, we would be happy to see you for an evaluation.