Dry eye is the term used to describe eyes that do not produce enough tears; or produce tears of poor quality in any of the tear layers.

Tears wet the eyes and provide a smooth surface for light to pass through. Tears are made up of three layers:

  • The outer oily layer
  • The middle watery layer
  • The inner mucus layer.

Dry Eye

Aging usually affects the quality of tears produced. As people are different so are our eyes, and some people’s eye tend to be dryer than others. Postmenopausal women usually suffer from dry eyes due to hormonal changes.

 

Dry eyes can also be caused by:

  • Incomplete closure of the eyes while blinking.
  • Inadequate blinks while focusing on devices.
  • Using medications like antihistamines, birth control and antidepressants.
  • Autoimmune diseases like arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Chemical or thermal burns to the eye

Dry eye symptoms are often different in different people, but the following are commonly experienced:

  • Irritated, scratchy, dry or uncomfortable eye
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Burning sensation of the eyes
  • A feeling of foreign body in the eye
  • Blurred vision which clears up on blinking
  • Excessive watering as the eyes try to comfort an overly dry eye

If untreated, dry eye can damage eye tissue and possibly scar the cornea, the transparent front covering of the eye, impairing vision.

Dry eyes can be managed using artificial tears, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory eye drops.

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