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Dry Eye Syndrome

Close up of red eye

Dry Eye Syndrome is the lack of lubrication or moisture in the eyes related to the tear film and production of natural tears. This syndrome can be caused by factors including the natural aging process, cold medicines, contact lens wear, and certain environmental factors.

If you have a dry and scratchy feeling or a burning sensation, you may be experiencing dry eye. In order to determine if you are suffering from this syndrome, it is important to make an appointment with the dry eye specialists at Clay Eye Physicians and Surgeons. During this appointment, a Schirmer test will be conducted to determine the severity of the dryness.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

The exact cause of Dry Eye Syndrome is still being researched by the medical community, but it has been determined that certain elements are known to cause dry eyes. Certain diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjögren’s Syndrome can cause dry eyes. Some prescription medications and over-the-counter medications can also lead to dry eyes, as well as contact lens wear, and environmental factors. Some medications that are known to cause dry eyes are antihistamines, such as Benadryl, some blood pressure medications and anti-depressants. Also, if you are a smoker, you are at risk for developing Dry Eye Syndrome.

The Tear Film

Tears chemical composition

The tear film is made up of three different layers: an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucin layer. The small glands on the edge of the eyelid called meibomian glands, produce the oily layer of the tear film. The oily layer is what smoothes the tear surface and decreases the evaporation of tears. The watery layer is the middle layer and the largest layer. The watery layer is produced by small glands on the conjunctiva which is the membrane lining the inside of the eyelid and covering the eyeball. The innermost layer is the mucus layer produced by goblet cells in the conjunctiva. This layer is what allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the surface of the eye and helps to keep the eye moist.

Treatment Options for Dry Eye

Dry Eye Syndrome is difficult to cure, but there are certain treatments to help reduce the effects including: