What Is Dry Eye?
You need tears to constantly lubricate your eyes. Without them, the health of your eyes and ultimately the quality of your vision can be affected. Dry Eye Disease is a condition that affects either the quantity of your tears or their quality.
When your eyes don’t make enough tears (also called aqueous-deficient dry eye), you may, among other symptoms, feel as though you have sand in your eyes and have trouble wearing contact lenses.
When the quality of your tears is compromised, they dry too quickly before they can nourish and moisturize your eye. This is caused by an imbalance in the make-up of your tears and your tear film.
The Importance of a Healthy Tear Film
Each time you blink, a film of tears is left behind. Known as the tear film, this keeps your eye lubricated and protects it from irritants.
Tears are made of three layers: oily, watery, and mucus. When the three layers of your tear film aren’t in balance, your tears will evaporate too quickly, causing the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye is a chronic, progressive disease caused by many factors. Common risk factors include:
- Increasing age
- Gender (DED is more common in women)
- Digital device use
- Contact lens wear
- Systemic health conditions
- Ocular surgery
As part of most consultation appointments at Vance Thompson Vision, you will be tested for dry eye disease. If you have it, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you.