What is Dry Eye?
Dry Eye affects millions of people worldwide, and is one of the most common reasons that patients visit their eye doctor. Our tears are a complex mixture of water, oils and mucus. When vision is healthy a balance exists between the tear layers. If an imbalance occurs with one or more of the tear layers the tear system breaks down and dry spots develop. This is called Dry Eye and occurs due to insufficient production of tears, or excessive evaporation of the tear film. Dry Eyes are uncomfortable and can impact vision throughout the day. Patients who suffer from chronic Dry Eye find it difficult to perform everyday activities, which can significantly decrease their quality of life. Dry Eyes occur for a number of different reasons. These include age, gender, medications, and environmental conditions. Other factors include long term contact lens use, and refractive procedures such as LASIK, which can cause decreased tear production. The key to managing Dry Eye is to recognize the symptoms early and seek treatment from an eye care professional. Without treatment, chronic dry eye can lead to impaired vision, eye infection and scarring.