Dry eye disease, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common eye condition affecting millions of Americans yearly. It’s caused by insufficient tear production or by tears that are not of the correct type. Left untreated, it can cause discomfort and vision problems.
Every time you blink, tears are spread across the eye to lubricate it. This helps keep your eyes healthy and gives you a clear sense of sight.
The tear film is necessary for optimal vision. It consists of three distinct layers. Each layer plays a crucial role in the tear film’s overall function. The oily layer, for instance, keeps the tears smooth and prevents them from drying out too quickly. The middle layer of the tear film is composed mainly of water. This watery layer helps to clean the eye by eliminating any unwanted particles. The inner part of the tear film is composed of a mucus layer. This helps spread the watery layer across the eye’s surface and keeps it lubricated. Tears would not be able to stick to the eye without mucus, which is why it’s so important.
Your eyes constantly produce tears to stay lubricated. This can go into overdrive when you cry, or your eyes are irritated. If you suffer from dry eyes, the glands above your eyes are likely not producing enough tears to keep them lubricated. This could happen due to insufficient tears being produced or the existing tears evaporating quickly or not working effectively.
Several factors also contribute to dry eye disease. Age and gender are an example. With age, hormonal changes can reduce tear production, leading to dry eyes. Both genders are susceptible to dry eyes, but women experience it more often. This is especially true for those who have gone through menopause.
Additionally, having certain diseases and taking certain medicines can lead to or make you more susceptible to this ocular condition. Even your environment can cause dry eyes, such as smoke exposure or a windy, dry climate.
Dry eye disease has a wide range of symptoms. These include red eyes, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light. You may also experience a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes or a gritty feeling as if something is stuck in your eye. Sometimes, stringy mucus near or around your eyes is noticeable. Another sign is an abundance of tears. It might seem odd to have a lot of tears in your eyes despite having dry eyes. But your eyes release more tears due to the irritation caused by the dry eye.
Are you struggling with dry eyes? Our experts at Inland Family Optometry can help you choose the most effective treatment. You will be pleased to know that various devices and medications are available today, making it easier to find relief. Stop by our office in Chino or Rancho Cucamonga, California, today. To schedule an appointment, call us now at (909) 345-9809 or (909) 345-6100.