Dry Eye Syndrome is a disease that affects millions across the United States. The symptoms of the disease can be debilitating with regard to ocular comfort as well as visual clarity. There are various types of dry eye disease. Therefore, the diagnosis of dry eye syndrome requires a careful work-up and customized therapeutic treatment plans.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome, or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, is the chronic lack of lubrication or moisture to the surface of the eyes. The affects of dry eye disease can range from subtle eye irritation to significant inflammation resulting in corneal scarring.
What are the Symptoms?
There are a myriad of symptoms that can occur with Dry Eye Syndrome but some of the most common symptoms include the following:
• Scratchy or foreign body sensation
• Burning or stinging
• Excessive tearing
• Eye fatigue
• Light sensitivity
• Blurred vision
What are Tears and How are they Related to Dry Eye?
In healthy eyes, tears known as basal tears are constantly lubricating the ocular surface. Tears are squeezed out of glands with every blink of the eye and are spread across the conjunctiva and cornea. In dry eye patients, the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough basal tears or the composition of the tears are compromised causing the tears to be unstable.
Did you know tears are not just salty water? They are a complex mixture of mucus, water, proteins and fatty oils and are formed of three distinct layers!
• The inner (mucin) layer- produced by goblet cells and allows the watery, aqueous layer to anchor and spread evenly over the surface of the eyes.
• The middle (aqueous) layer- contains the watery portion of the tears with water-soluble proteins and is produced by the lacrimal glands.
• The outer (oily lipid) layer- keeps tears from evaporating too quickly helping tears remain on the eyes and is produced by the meibomian glands.
A problem within any of these tear film components can hinder tear film stability and cause Dry Eye Syndrome. For example, one of the most common types of Dry Eye, Evaporative Dry Eye, is caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or the meibomian glands not producing or secreting enough oil (meibum).
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome results from insufficient tear production or an imbalance of tear composition causing the tears to evaporate too quickly.
Although there are a vast number of factors that contribute to Dry Eye Syndrome, some of the most common include the following:
• Increased age
• Post-menopausal hormonal changes
• Autoimmune diseases including Sjogrens Syndrome, Scleroderma, Lupus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Various medications
• Refractive Surgery
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed and Treated?
Symptoms of Dry Eyes should be carefully evaluated by an eye care professional. There are a series of tests that can be performed to determine the type of Dry Eye being experienced. To find out more Click Here.
The results of the testing will help guide your eye doctor to the best, customized treatment regimen.
Interested in Learning More? Click Here to view detailed treatment options available at EYESPOT!
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS OF DRY EYE SYNDROME, CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE YOUR COMPREHENSIVE DRY EYE ASSESSMENT.