Dry eye causes can be attributed any number of reasons that disrupt the healthy tear film. The tear film of the eye is essential for clear, comfortable vision. The tear film is comprised of three layers known as fatty oils, aqueous fluid and mucus that combine to keep the surface of the eyes constantly lubricated, smooth and clear. When any of these layers is affected, dry eyes are caused. The fatty oils layer, also known as lipids, sits on top of the tears and keeps tears from evaporating. Dry eye can be caused when the meibomian glands become clogged, restricting the production of the oil. In addition to a dysfunction of the meibomian gland, other common causes for increased tear evaporation include eyelid problems, eye allergies, preservatives in topical eye drops, high pollution or wind, and Vitamin A deficiency. The lacrimal glands secret the aqueous fluid, the main part of the tears, supplying a constant flow of lubrication with every blink. The lack of this fluid is the truest definition of dry eye and accounts for 10% of dry eye causes. Decreased tear production can be caused by many things include aging, certain medical conditions (such as Sjogren’s syndrome, allergic eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, thyroid disorders, or vitamin A deficiency), certain medications (such as antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control and Parkinson’s disease), and corneal nerve de-sensitivity. The mucus layer is the thinnest layer of the tear film and is where the tear film adheres to the eye. Without this layer, tears will not adhere to the surface of the eye making it susceptible to damage.
Tears are needed for 3 main reasons: to protect the eye, to provide proteins and nutrients to the eye, and to refract light. If any of the layers of the tear film are not healthy or producing as they should, dry eye symptoms can occur. If the lack of balance to your tear production is not related to the tear film layers, dry eye causes may include overuse of air conditioner or heater, natural aging process (affecting women greater than men due to hormonal changes because of pregnancy, birth control, or menopause) and wearing contact lenses or a history of refractive surgery.
To help prevent or eliminate the symptoms of dry eyes, consider factors or situations that may be causing dry eyes such as the moisture of lack of in the air, direct air blowing into the eyes, time spent on digital screens, vitamin deficiencies and whether artificial eye drops are helping your dry eye symptoms. Dry eye symptoms include burning or scratching sensation in the eyes, eye redness, sensitivity to light, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, the feeling of something in the eye or blurred or strained vision. Dry eye causes can be diagnosed by our experienced team of ophthalmologists at Eye Institute of South Jersey, P.C.. You do not have to suffer with dry eyes. Call 856-205-1100 or visit WEBSITE to schedule your appointment to pinpoint dry eye causes and regain your eye comfort and clarity.