Dry Eye is a common condition that results from an alteration in the quality or quantity of tears. Symptoms can vary but often your eyes will be irritated and red, sometimes itchy or gritty. The eyes may even water excessively. Two thirds of people will suffer from dry eye at some time in their lives.
The Tear System
The tears are made up of three layers:
- the MUCIN layer helps the spread and adherence of tears
- the AQEOUS layer makes up the bulk of the tears and provides hydration and nutrition
- the OILY layer stops the tears from evaporating too quickly, helps the spread of tears, and also helps prevent the tears spilling over the eyelids. The oily layer is largely produced by the Meibomian Glands
Are Dry Eyes Treatable?
The simple answer is YES! Usually the problem cannot be cured but it can be brought under control and your discomfort alleviated. It is important to continue treatment as failure to do so often results in return of the condition. Further, the low grade inflammation often associated with dry eyes can result in permanent damage to the tear system. The degree of damage will influence any potential level of comfort achievable.