What is dry Eye
Tears are important for keeping the eye moist, comfortable and healthy. The eye is constantly bathing itself in tear fluid. Someone who suffers from Dry Eyes does not produce enough tears and/or the right quality of tears to keep the surface of the eyes lubricated.
The tear film consists of three layers:
The lipid layer is produced by the meibomian glands which are positioned near the eye lash margin in the eyelids. This layer is the outermost surface of the tear film. Its main purpose is to make the tear surface smooth and reduce evaporation of tears.
The middle watery layer makes up most of what we ordinarily think of as tears. This layer is produced by the lacrimal glands the eyelids. Its purpose is to cleanses the eye, to wash away foreign particles and to fight infection.
The inner layer consists of mucin produced by the conjunctiva. Mucin allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the surface of the eye and helps the eye remain moist. This layer also allows watery tear fluid to stick to the eye.
If any one of these layers are not functioning properly the symptoms of dry eye will appear. The eye becomes irritated and inflamed due to the lack of lubrication and in response increases the amount of tears being produced, sometimes causing watery eyes (epiphora).
What are the symptoms of dry eye
Dry eye symptoms usually include
Stinging or burning eyes;
Stringy mucus in or around the eyes;
Excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind;
Discomfort when wearing contact lenses