Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is often a chronic condition caused by lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eyes. In other words, if you have dry eye syndrome, your eyes either do not produce enough tears. Or, you are unable to maintain a normal layer of tears to coat your eyes. As a result, your eyes cannot eliminate dust and other irritants. When this occurs, it can lead to itchy, red, and irritated eyes. Blurry vision, light sensitivity, and other problems that may arise as a result of the condition. Although dry eye syndrome usually does not permanently affect your vision, getting the treatment you need is important. That’s because when left untreated, severe dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye and/or impair your vision.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Types of Dry Eye Disease

People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears evaporate too quickly. In some cases, the meibomian glands that line your eyelids can become clogged. The result, tears dry up too quickly because there is not enough oil on the surface of the eye (evaporative dry eye). In other cases, the lacrimal glands do not produce enough of the water component to keep the eyes moist (aqueous dry eye). The two types of dry eye disease may be present in isolation or occur simultaneously. Or put simply, you can have one or both types of dry eye syndrome at the same time.

Nearly 86% of all dry eye cases is evaporative dry eye.

Evaporative Dry Eye

Evaporative dry eye syndrome accounts for nearly 86% of all dry eye cases. This form of dry eye disease is caused by a blockage of the meibomian glands that line eyelids (also, known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, or MGD). In the upper eyelid there are 25 to 45 meibomian glands and in the lower lid there are about 20 to 30. When these glands are blocked, it leads to a decrease in oil secretion. As a result, tears can evaporate 4-16 times faster than normal. 

Things like your background, or wearing eye makeup can contribute to this type of dysfunction. In fact, this is especially true if you do not thoroughly remove your eye makeup before going to sleep. Symptoms can range from red eyes to a gritty feeling and itchy eyes to blurred vision. Only an eye doctor can tell if you have this type of dry eye syndrome

Aqueous Dry Eye 

In other cases, the cause of dry eye syndrome is a failure of the lacrimal glands to produce enough watery fluid. This results in concentrated tear film (hyperosmolarity) and unstable tear film. In other words, when the lacrimal gland fails to produce enough tears to coat the surface of the eye, symptoms of dry eye may appear. That’s because when tear volume is low, the tears become hyperosmotic (less water and more salt in the tears). The only way to know for sure if you have dry eye syndrome, is to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

Symptoms Include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia
  • Blurred vision

The tear is the eye’s first layer of defense.

Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosis & Treatment

The tear is the eye’s first layer of defense. Thankfully, there are effective treatments for those who suffer from dry eye syndrome. If you are experiencing constant eye irritation, burning, itching and the sensation of having something in your eyes, you should be screened for dry eye syndrome. Contact our office today at (805) 522-7007 to learn how we can help.