Symptoms and Causes of Dry Eye

Itching or burning of the eyes can be caused by dry eye. Excessive watering in one or both eyes can also be a symptom. There are many causes and a variety of treatment options for this condition. This is a growing epidemic that is concerning to eye care professionals around the world.

  • Constantly watering eyes
  • Scratchy eyes
  • Burning sensation
  • Gritty sensation
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Stringy eye mucus

Causes of Dry Eye

The causes of dry eye syndrome are still being researched by the medical community, but certain elements are known to cause dry eye:

  • Natural aging process
  • Over-the-counter cold medicines including antihistamines
  • Prescription medications such as anti-depressants and some blood pressure medications
  • Contact lens wear
  • Environmental factors
  • Systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Smoking

Understanding Tear Film & Dry Eye

The tear film is made up of three unique layers:

  • Oil layer: Small glands at the perimeter of the eyelid, called meibomian glands, produce the outer, oily layer of the tear film. The main purpose of this oil layer is to smooth the tear surface and decrease evaporation of tears.
  • Aqueous layer: This is the largest of the three layers and it makes up most of what we ordinarily think of as tears. This layer is produced by small glands scattered through the conjunctiva, the delicate membrane lining the inside of eyelid and covering the eyeball, and by the major tear gland, the large lacrimal gland.
  • Mucin layer: The innermost layer consists of mucus produced by goblet cells in the conjunctiva. This layer allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the surface of the eye and helps the eye to remain quite moist. Without mucus, tears would not stick to the eye.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of dry eye in Marietta, schedule an eye exam with one of our dry eye specialists so we can properly diagnose your problem.
Contact us: 770-427-8111

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