Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears, or the right quality of tears to keep the surface of the eyes sufficiently lubricated. Symptoms include:
- Stinging / burning / scratchy sensation in your eyes
- Eye redness
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
- Stringy mucous in or around your eyes
- Watery eyes, which is your body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Nearly 30 million Americans report symptoms consistent with dry eye, but only 16 million are diagnosed!
Why do we need tears?
Tears are important to keep the front of your eyes moist and comfortable! Tears supply oxygen and nutrients to your cornea, prevent against infection, and create a smooth ocular surface which through which light is refracted to keep our vision crisp!
What causes dry eye?
There is not just one cause for dry eye. Some people do not produce enough tears, which could be due to hormonal changes, aging, refractive eye surgeries, or medical conditions including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Sjogrens syndrome. While other forms of dry eye start from eyelid inflammation, resulting in an unstable tear film. Certain medications and environmental conditions may also be responsible for worsening the condition.
TearLab Osmolarity Testing
As a part of our dry eye workup we utilize TearLab® osmolarity testing to further assess the nature of your dry eye. TearLab® is a unique laboratory instrument that collects a nanoliter of tear fluid directly from the eye lid margin, and measures osmolarity (the saltiness of your tears). As osmolarity in your tears increases, ocular surface cells become damaged.
For more information on how TearLab®, evaluates your tear osmolarity go to the TearLab Website.
A complete picture of your dry eye and ocular surface allows our doctors to tailor a dry eye management plan for you.