Dry eye is caused by a disruption in the tear production process-the tear layer consists of 3 layers;
- an inner mucous layer
- a middle acqueous layer
- outer lipid layer
If deficiency occurs in any of the layers dry eye symptoms can occur. Imbalances between tear production,drainage and retention can be caused by a number of factors. Dry eye increases with age as at 65 we have 60% less oil in our bodies. Dry eye can also be due to Meibomian gland dysfunction,blepharitis,contact lens wear,medications,hormonal changes,immune disorders,lasik,computer related eye strain,inadequate diet and other factors.
Dry eye symptoms can include;
- sandy gritty or burning feeling
- itching or stinging
- sensitivity to light
- contact lens discomfort
- fatigued or aching eyes
- filmy blurred vision
- heavy eyelids
- decreased ability to read or computer work
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis
MGD is a leading cause of dry eye-its a blockage of the meibomian glands which are located on the eyelid margins. Chronic nflammation disturbs the production of the lipids emitted by the glands and the tears then evaporate too quickly. MGD is associated with blepharitis- commonly caused by staphylococcal bacteria characterised by inflammation of the eyelid margins and dry eye symptoms.
At Tauranga Eyecare we actively manage and treat these two conditions- your optometrist will give you advice
Nutrition and Dry Eye Syndrome
There is evidence in the importance of omega-3 essential fatty acids in treating dry eye syndrome-they help to augment both the watery acqueous and oily lipid layers of the tear film.They also have a role in stabilizing the tear film by improving tear quality and reducing evaporative loss. The best source of these is fish oil from the cold water oily fish. There is also for vitamins D and E for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.