The surface of the eye is continuously coated with a very complex, efficient and clear tear film. This tear film is generated within a gland in the upper and outer portion of the eye socket (Lacrimal Gland) as well as augmented by the secretions from the cells of the various layers that cover the eye. For a variety of reasons, it is common to have a lower than necessary level of tears (Dry Eye). The results range from mere annoyance to severe, serious problems with instability of vision and lack of integrity of the surface of the eye.
At Access Eye we have a long tradition of aggressively identifying and treating these problems in early stages. For example, we employ two specific tests to indicate the presence of dry eye and its potential association with any underlying inflammation. Once diagnosed, treatment can range from supplemental artificial tears in mild cases to various mechanical ways of increasing the amount of tears available to the eye (Lacrimal Plugs). Medication to improve the secretion of tears is prescribed in select cases.
What is Dry Eye?
Sometimes people do not produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable. This condition is known as dry eye. Tear production normally decreases as we age. Although dry eye can occur in both men and women at any age, women are the most often affected.
Normally, the eye constantly bathes itself in tears. By producing tears at a slow and steady rate, the eye stays moist and comfortable.
The Usual Symptoms Include:
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Stringy mucous in or around the eyes
- Excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind
- Excess tearing
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
The doctors at Access Eye Centers are able to diagnose dry eye by examining the eyes and offering different treatment options. Methods may include adding artificial tears, conserving your eyes’ own tears, by temporarily or permanently closing the tear ducts.