A healthy eye requires the continuous production and drainage of tears. Tears keep the eye moist, help wounds heal, and protect against eye infection. Sufferers of dry eye have one or both eyes producing fewer tears or lower quality tears. This leads to an inability keep the surface lubricated and comfortable. As we age, the glands around eyes usually produce fewer tears. The wearing of contact lenses may also contribute to dry eye disease.
What are the symptoms of dry eyes?
Some symptoms of dry eye are as follows:
How are dry eyes treated?
Artificial tears, which lubricate the eye, are the most common treatment for dry eye. They are available over-the-counter as eye drops. Sterile ointments are sometimes used at night to help prevent the eye from drying. People may also find comfort in using humidifiers, wearing wrap-around glasses when outside and avoiding windy and dry conditions. For people with severe cases of dry eye, temporary or permanent closure of the tear drain (small openings at the inner corner of the eyelids where tears drain from the eye) may also be helpful.