According to the National Health and Wellness survey, approximately 16.4 million people have been diagnosed with dry eyes. While dry eyes are fairly common, the condition can affect day-to-day activities and compromise your comfort.
Around six million people suffer from undiagnosed dry eye disease. Could you be a part of this demographic? Your eye doctor sheds light on the disease, how to spot it and how you can manage it.
The Importance of Eye Moisture
Patients afflicted with chronic dry eyes suffer from insufficient eye moisture and lubrication. Your eyes need moisture for a number of reasons. Firstly, your eyelids need to be lubricated so they can glide over your cornea smoothly. Additionally, the moisture helps retain corneal clarity. Eye lubrication also prevents bacteria from reproducing, flushing out dust particles.
Chronic Dry Eye Causes
Chronic dry eye is a result of an imbalance in the components of tears, which are a combination of water, oil and mucus. These elements are produced by different glands that serve different purposes. Oily lipids are produced by the meibomian glands and maintain tear film moisture. Goblet cells produce mucus, which helps spread the watery component across the eyes. The watery component comes from the lacrimal glands. Chronic dry eye treatments vary depending on the affected gland or cell.
Paradoxically, it’s not uncommon to experience watery eyes as a symptom of dry eyes. An excessive production of tears means that your meibomian glands and goblet cells are compromised. Other symptoms of the disease include itching, burning and aching sensations accompanied by dryness and redness of the eyes.
Wearing contact lenses can aggravate these symptoms, which is why it’s advisable to switch back to your corrective eyeglasses before and during treatment.
Symptoms of dry eyes can be managed by artificial tears and prescription eye drops. You should consult with your doctor regarding the best way to address your condition.
At Opti-Care, we recognize that all visual needs are unique. We offer personalized, expert eye care services. You may contact us at (410) 600-3173. We serve Westminster, MD.