Having dry eyes can be a temporary or chronic problem. Most people experience dry eyes at one time or another, usually due to straining the eyes. Seasonal allergies, wind, alcohol consumption, and spending time in a smoke-filled environment can also cause dry eyes.
On the other hand, there is the dry eye condition, which can occur at any time. To prevent vision loss, you must get prompt treatment, even when symptoms appear mild.
Tears consist of fatty oils, mucus, several proteins, and other essential substances. A dry eye condition occurs when the natural tears fail to function as required. In some cases, the tear glands fail to produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too fast.
It could also be that the tears produced are of poor quality, where they do not contain the essential components.
The tear film contains three layers:
The outer lipid layer
The watery middle part
The inner mucus layer
Each layer is vital for ensuring that the tears function the way they should.
The natural act of blinking causes tears to flow over the cornea. This is the dome-shaped, clear structure that covers the eye. After blinking, the tear film begins to thin while maintaining a moisture cover over the eyes until the next blink. A thicker tear film is then established.
Tears are vital for healthy eyes. They help lubricate the cornea, preventing dryness while also delivering nutrients and oxygen to the eyes and removing dirt. Tears enable proper vision by focusing light, and they help prevent infection through the antibacterial enzyme.
Several factors can cause dry eyes. The factors range from environmental changes to health conditions. With dry eye conditions, age is a factor as the condition usually affects people over 50 years old. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) results in reduced oil in tears.
Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants cause dry eye. Other factors include inflammatory disorders, autoimmune disorders, hormonal changes, and environmental irritants such as pollen, wind, smoke, and dry air. Reduced blinking can also cause dry eyes.
There are several complications associated with dry eye. Symptoms such as a scratchy sensation, burning, and sensitivity to light can cause long-term vision complications and eye damage. To prevent complications, doctors can treat mild and moderate dry eyes effectively. An initial symptom of the condition is blurry vision.
Loss of tear film affects the cornea’s focusing ability. Insufficient tears affect the provision of oxygen and nutrients necessary to keep the eyes healthy. When the eyes are dry, they easily become infected and scarred, and cornea thinning can easily occur.
There are several ways to treat dry eye disease. During the early stages of the disease, doctors often recommend gels, eye drops, and ointments. Artificial tears help lubricate the eyes and keep them so. Eye doctors can also recommend lacrimal plugs or the use of surgery.
For more on dry eye, contact Brandon Eyes at our offices in Madison and Middleton, Wisconsin. You can call (608) 833-7256 or (608) 833-0301 today to schedule an appointment.