Dry Eyes: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


With age comes a multiplicity of reduced bodily functions. Tearing of the eye is one of these functions that provides lubrication for the conjunctiva, the surface between the eyelid and the eyeball. Tears is the watery saline solution produced by the lacrimal gland, which bathes the eye to keep it moist.

With a blink of the eye, a film of tears spread over its surface to moist and clear. The tear film is made up of three layers…

The oily layer… the outermost surface of the tear film, keeps the tear surface smooth, and reduces evaporation.
The watery layer… or middle layer is the largest layer, and it cleanses the eye and washes away foreign particles.
The mucus layer… causes the teat to stick to the eye, and makes the watery layer spread evenly over the entire surface of the eye.

The symptoms associated with dry eyes include…

  • Excessive tearing
  • Stinging or burning eyes
  • Stingy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Increased irritation from smoke or wind
  • Discomfort wearing contact lenses
  • Sensitivity to light

The principal cause of dry eye is degradation of the quality of the tear. Or if a person does not produce an adequate amount of tears to keep the eye lubricated. Aging is not the only reason for dry eye. Dry eye can occur at any age in both men and women, especially post menopausal women. People having Sjogren’s syndrome suffer from dry eye condition. A variety of medications are associated with dry eye. The list includes painkillers, diuretics, nervines, sleeping pills, antihistamines and beta-blockers. Most of these medications are essential to the well being of the people who take them, so the dry eye condition would have to be treated.

Lubricant eyedrops known as artificial tears, help the eyes retain moisture. Artificial tears are available over the counter, in many brands, without a prescription.

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