When you blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye. This keeps the eye’s surface smooth and clear. The tear film is important for good vision.
The tear film is made of three layers and each serves a purpose.
The oily layer is the outside of the tear film. It makes the tear surface smooth and keeps tears from drying up too quickly. This layer is made in the eye’s meibomian glands.
The watery layer is the middle of the tear film. It makes up most of what we see as tears. This layer cleans the eye, washing away particles that do not belong in the eye. This layer comes from the lacrimal glands in the eyelids.
The mucus layer is the inner layer of the tear film. This helps spread the watery layer over the eye’s surface, keeping it moist. Without mucus, tears would not stick to the eye. Mucus is made in the conjunctiva. This is the clear tissue covering the white of your eye and inside your eyelids.
Dry eye is a condition where the eyes don't produce enough tears or the right quality of tears (tear film) to be healthy or comfortable. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Normally, our eyes constantly make tears to stay moist. If our eyes are irritated, or we cry, our eyes make a lot of tears. But, sometimes the eyes don’t make enough tears or something affects one or more layers of the tear film. In those cases, we end up with dry eyes. It may not make sense, but dry-eye syndrome often leads to watery eyes. When eyes dry out, they become irritated and uncomfortable. That prompts the lacrimal glands to produce so many tears that they overwhelm the eye's natural drainage system.
At Shreya Patel OD PC we will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your eyes and tear film to determine the best course of treatment for you.
People tend to make fewer tears as they get older due to hormonal changes. Both men and women can get dry eye. However, it is more common in women—especially those who have gone through menopause.
Some other causes of dry eyes are:
Meibomian gland dysfunction may be one of the most common eye problems you've never heard of. Meibomian refers to a particular type of gland in the eyelids. There are about 25 to 40 meibomian glands in the upper eyelid and 20 to 30 in the lower eyelid. The function of these glands is to secrete oils onto the surface of the eye. These oils help keep the tears from evaporating too quickly.
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a blockage or some other abnormality of the meibomian glands so they don't secrete enough oil into the tears. Because the tear film on the surface of the eye then evaporates too quickly, MGD is associated with dry eye syndrome. It also is connected with an eyelid problem called blepharitis.
Everyone has some bacteria on their skin. Some people, however, have more bacteria at the base of their eyelashes than other people. This can cause microscopic dandruff-like flakes to form. Also, some people have problems with oil glands in their eyelids, leading to blepharitis. We can treat blepharitis, so contact us if you think you may be suffering from this eye condition.
There are many ways to treat dry eyes. We recommend that you prevent dry eye symptoms before they begin and address lifestyle factors that may be aggravating an existing condition.
During prolonged computer or digital device use, make sure to take a short break every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Drink enough water. Women need at least 91 oz. of water a day and men need even more. Insufficient water intake can directly contribute to a reduced supply of tears, particularly in hot and dry climates.
Healthy diet and Omega 3 supplements
A healthy diet is essential for maintaining optimal health. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to help maintain good vision and eye health, as well as decrease dry eyes symptoms.
If you take an Omega 3 supplement it is important to choose a high quality purified trigylceride form. At Shreya Patel OD PC we offer only the highest quality sustainably sourced supplements by Nordic Naturals.
Optilight IPL light therapy can be used to treat blepharitis and periocular inflammatory conditions such as ocular rosacea and telangiectasia.