Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye conditions in the United States today. Millions of Americans are affected every year. The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can range from mild to severe, and patients find symptoms to be very frustrating at times. It is especially prevalent in older people, and two to three times more likely to affect women than men. The quality of your tears plays an enormous role in the health of your eyes. Tears keep the eyes comfortably lubricated, wash out particles and other irritants, and help to maintain good vision. When not enough tears are produced, or they lack the proper composition, dry eye syndrome can occur.
Dry eye syndrome is caused by malfunctioning tear glands. This can mean that you are simply not creating enough tears to lubricate the eye, or that the tears are lacking one of their three components.
The tear film is made up of three layers:
Oil (lipid) layer: the outer layer of the tear film that seals the tear film to help reduce tear evaporation
Water (aqueous) layer: lubricates the eye, washes away particles and prevents infection
Mucin layer: the innermost layer that helps the water layer to spread evenly over the eye
The most common form is called an evaporative dry eye. Evaporative dry eye occurs when the glands that are responsible for creating the lipid layer of the tear film are not working properly. The lack of a lipid layer causes the middle aqueous layer to evaporate quickly and not spread as evenly over the eye. When this happens, you will begin to experience the frustrating symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
One of the most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome is watery eyes. While this may seem odd, this is your eye producing more of the water layer as a protective measure against the dryness. Unfortunately, this does not help to solve the issue.
Other common symptoms of dry eye syndrome:
Persistent dry feeling
Foreign body sensation
People with dry eye syndrome may notice that these symptoms worsen after long periods of working at the computer, reading, or watching TV. If left untreated, severe dry eye syndrome can cause corneal damage, leading to impaired vision. It is critical, therefore, that you see an ophthalmologist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Here at Cape Fear Eye Associates, we are proud to offer multiple Dry Eye Testing Modalities and Treatment Options depending on the severity of the condition:
Dry Eye Treatment
Dry Eye Testing Modalities
Dry Eye Patient Education Video
What You Can Do
If you have dry eye syndrome, there are a number of things you can do on your own to improve your condition. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and to flush out impurities—eight to ten glasses a day are recommended. Make a conscious effort to blink your eyes more frequently, especially during prolonged periods of reading or watching TV. Avoid cigarette smoke, overly heated rooms, and wind.
Contact Cape Fear Eye Associates Today
Regular eye exams are essential to maintaining the health of your vision and your body. At Cape Fear Eye Associates, your total well-being is our primary concern. To schedule a Dry Eye Eye Exam, contact our offices in Fayetteville today at 910-484-2284.