Understanding Dry Eye


I. Dry Eye Overview 

Redness, blurred vision, and scratchiness in or around the eye are just a few of the many possible dry eye symptoms.  


Dry eye can occur when not enough tears are produced, tears that are produced evaporate too quickly and do not remain on the eye, and/or the quality of tears produced is poor.  In turn, all of these leave an individual's eye feeling irritated and uncomfortable. 


With millions of Americans currently suffering from dry eye and with diagnoses expected to grow, patients are seeking both more information as well as best treatment methods in order to find relief.  



II. What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye occurs when an individual lacks sufficient moisture on one's eye which causes both pain and discomfort. 


The cornea, which is a clear, dome shaped surface that covers the front of the eye, works to protect the eye from harmful substances. Every time an individual blinks, tears form a thin layer of moisture which spread across the cornea to keep the eye nourished and protected.


This thin layer is also know as the tear film, and the tear film washes away particles to help prevent infections. The tear film has 3 layers which all perform a specific function in order to keep a clear, smooth, and moist eye surface.




Finally, dry eye occurs when not enough tears are produced or tears are not spread correctly across the cornea which causes them to evaporate quickly.  In other words, when tears are produced, excess tears flow to tiny drainage ducts found in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelid. Dry eye is caused when the number of tears produced and number of tears entering the drainage ducts are not in line.  



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References:
National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/health/dryeye/dryeye. Accessed October 20, 2016. 
Web MD. http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/tc/dry-eye-syndrome-topic-overview#. Accessed October 20, 2016. 
American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye?sso=y. Accessed October 20, 2016. 




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