What is Dry Eye?

What is Dry Eye?

What is Dry Eye?

What is Dry Eye?

Many people think that tear film is only present when we cry. However, the truth is that our eyes are constantly covered in a thin layer of tear film and it is this that enables our eyes to move around smoothly and comfortably. If there is a problem with this tear film, our eyes can quickly start to feel dry and irritated. These symptoms are just some of those associated with a condition that is known as dry eye.


Dry Eye and Its Causes

When it comes to eye conditions, dry eye is one of the most common. In fact, many people will experience at least one episode of dry eye during their lifetime, but in most instances, it will resolve itself without the need for medical intervention. Nevertheless, for a number of people, dry eye will become a chronic problem that has a persistent effect on their eyes and vision.


There are predominantly two causes of dry eye. These are:


The Components of Your Tear Film aren’t Balanced

The tear film is made up of several components, including water, mucus, and oil. It is the oil that helps to ensure that tear film is as lubricating as possible. Many cases of dry eye are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). This is where a blockage in the meibomian glands prevents enough oil from going into your tear film, affecting its quality and effectiveness.


Your Tear Film Drains Too Quickly

Another key cause of dry eyes is the tear film draining from the eyes too quickly. This causes the surface of the eyes to become too dry, causing the symptoms associated with the condition.


What are The Symptoms of Dry Eye?

There are many different symptoms associated with dry eye. They can occur individually or in combination with one another. They include:


  • Eyes that feel stiff and dry

  • Stinging and burning sensations

  • A scratchy or gritty feeling in your eye

  • Feeling as though there is something stuck in your eye

  • Difficulty putting in and wearing contact lenses

  • Blinking more often to try and make your eyes feel more comfortable

  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes

  • Eyes that look red and irritated

  • Excessive watering (which occurs when your body tries to flood the eyes with moisture)

  • Blurred vision


If you experience any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor to have an assessment carried out. They will talk to you about your eyes and vision and conduct a physical examination or certain tests to confirm a diagnosis of dry eye.


Can Dry Eye Be Treated?

Fortunately, there are different treatments that can be used to relieve the symptoms associated with dry eye. Precisely which treatment you’ll be recommended to undergo will almost certainly depend on what your eye doctor believes is the underlying cause of your dry eye. The simplest treatments will usually be offered first, but it may be necessary to try several different options to find the one that works best for you.


Some of the treatments that you may be recommended could include:


  • Eye drops to reduce inflammation

  • Artificial tears

  • Warm compresses on the eyelids to reduce inflammation and help remove blockages in the meibomian glands

  • LipiFlow thermal pulsation treatment combines heat and massage to counteract meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Punctal plugs, which are inserted into the drainage channels of the eyes to keep tear film on the surface longer


Your eye doctor will also be able to give you valuable advice on some of the ways in which you may be able to prevent dry eyes in the future.


Learn more about diagnosing & treating dry eye, contact Cleburne Eye Clinic in Cleburne, TX at (817) 645-2411 to speak with our eye care specialists.

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