Dry Eye Syndrome is characterized by itching, burning, gritty, red eyes. There are many causes for Dry Eye and, consequently there are many treatments.
Your tears serve many important functions. They wash out debris, keep your eyes moist and have special enzymes that neutralize microorganisms that colonize your eyes. Tears are made up of three layers, the lipid, aqueous and mucus layers. The lipid layer is the outer oily section, the aqueous layer is the watery middle part, and the mucus layer is the inner section closest to your cornea. The layers are produced by different glands in your eyelid and a problem with any of them can cause dry eye syndrome. If left untreated, dry eye can cause tissue damage and scarring of the cornea, leading to major vision problems.
There are many factors that can cause dry eyes. Age, certain medications, insufficient blinking, chemical composition of tears and environmental factors like sunlight, wind, dust and smoke. Dry Eye is also the number one complaint of people who wear contact lenses. With all of these potential causes there are also a variety of ways to treat dry eyes.
Artificial tears drops can help simulate tears in your eyes, reducing redness and clearing vision. Wearing sunglasses, cleaning furnace and air conditioning filters, avoiding smoke and using a humidifier can also help you reduce dryness. If you are having problems with a medication or if you wear contact lenses and are experiencing dry eyes, consult with your eye care provider to explore other options.
Because of the wide array of causes and solutions for dry eye, make sure to visit with your eye care provider to determine the best solution for you.