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Dry Eye Syndrome

The symptoms of this condition are the following: irritation, dryness, a burning sensation in the eyes, blurry vision, and grittiness. Additional symptoms include excessive tearing and watery eyes.

The eyes consists of 3 different tear layers. The first layer is called the Mucus Layer. The function of this particular layer is the production of tears that provide protection from microbial bacteria in the eyes thereby keeping the cornea safe from infections. The second layer is called the watery layer which provides the eyes with tear production content that consists mainly of 90% water. The third layer is called the Oily layer. The function of this layer is to prevent the evaporation of tears in the tear film on the cornea which can aid in preventing dry eyes. If one of these layers are not functioning properly, for instance in the case of the oily layer, ceasing to work properly, there is no oily lubrication provided to maintain moisture in the tear film. As a result of this the tears evaporate thereby causing the problem of dry eyes. Also, the eye’s immune system can go haywire and compensate for the dryness in the eyes or lack of tear production by overproducing poor quality tears.

1 Some additional causes of dry eyes include smoking, drinking coffee, wearing contact lenses and exposure to certain environmental factors such as heaters and air conditioning.

2 Certain eye diseases and health conditions such as Diabetes, Glaucoma, Asthma, Lupus and a Thyroid condition to name a few.

3 Excessive Close up Work on the Computer: When you are performing excessive close up work on the computer you tend to decrease your rate of blinking. This decrease in blinking causes staring which is a bad visual habit that decreases the amount of tear production in the eyes thereby causing symptoms such as eye strain and dry eyes.

4 Nutritional Deficiency: Scientific research indicates that a Vitamin D deficiency can cause certain eye problems related to dry eyes such as insufficient tear production in the eyes.

Lasik Surgery Side Effect: this is often a side effect of a Lasik surgery operation as 60-70% of the tear glands in the tear film of the cornea are cut during this surgical procedure for vision correction. This interferes with the normal functioning of the tear glands and leads to dry eye symptoms for several months to a year after surgery.

Age: One of the negative effects of aging on the visual system includes the development of dry eyes. This is due to the fact that you lose a large percentage of your tear film production as you age. Research suggests that 75% of people over the age of 60 complain of dry eye symptoms and by the time you reach this particular age you have lost a significant percentage of your tear film production.

Treatment options: From the point of view of traditional medicine prescription eye drops such as Restasis provide some temporary relief but this solution causes side effects in the form of a burning sensation in the eyes.