More than 2 million Australians suffer from dry eyes, and more than 30% of Australians suffer from eye allergies at least once during their lifetime.
Tears are essential components of eye health. They protect your eyes from infection, provide nutrition to your eyes and they keep them lubricated and comfortable. Your eyes are moistened by two different types of tears:
- Basal (Lubricating) tears: Lubricating tears are produced continuously to moisturize your eyes and contain natural infection fighting agents.
- Reflex tears. Reflex tears are produced in response to sudden irritation (smoke, onions, foreign particles), injury or emotion.
It is also important to understand that tears are made up of a composition of three distinct layers:
- Lipid layer (oils) — secreted by the Meibomian Glands
- Aqueous layer (water, electrolytes and various proteins) — secreted by the Lacrimal Glands
- Mucous layer (Mucins) — secreted by Conjunctival goblet cells
Improper function of any of these three factors will lead to symptoms of dry eyes.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is believed to be the leading cause of evaporative dry eye, and it is also frequently found in aqueous-deficient dry eye. When your tears do not have the proper lubricating composition, they will evaporate quickly which leads to symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry eye results when the quantity and/or quality of tear production declines or when the rate of tear evaporation increases. Symptoms include a range of discomfort such as irritation, redness, soreness, burning, and/or a feeling that there is grit in the eye.
Even a case of mild dry eye syndrome can be uncomfortable and, if left untreated, can lead to worsening symptoms. In some cases these symptoms can become debilitating. It is important to find the causes of dry eye syndrome and to develop a treatment plan before these symptoms get worse.
Dry Eye Syndrome is increasing in modern society as we spend more time on digital devices such as tablets, computers and smart phones. Lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking or frequent air travel can also increase symptoms, as can environmental factors such as poor air quality or exposure to air conditioning in the office.
Contact lens wear has also been associated with Dry Eye Syndrome. It is important to consult with your optometrist on proper contact lens use in order to prevent dry eyes due to contact lens wear. At In2Eyes, we offer a complimentary meibography (lipid gland assessment) for all patients so that we can assess the suitability of contact lenses for you.
If left untreated, chronic Dry Eye Syndrome will become increasingly worse and can become debilitating. Conditions such as Blepharitis can lead to desiccation of the skin and an increased risk of infection. This may lead to serious visual impairment.
At In2Eyes, we offer a comprehensive dry eye consultation to assess the causes behind your dry eyes as well as producing a quantitative report of your symptoms. With the K5 Keratograph technology, we can show you these results in digital format and have a record of your improvement throughout the treatment period.
If you require any more information on Dry Eye Syndrome, your symptoms, or what In2Eyes can do for you, please feel free to contact us on 03 9836 6883 or via our contact form.
- Qiao J., Yan X. Emerging treatment options for meibomian gland dysfunction. Clinical Ophthalmology. 2013;7:1797–1803. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S33182
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. In2Eyes has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Please consult our optometrists, or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.