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What is Dry Eye?

Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. Tears are not just for a heartfelt movie or laughing at something so funny that our eyes water. Tears are the unsung heroes of our eye health. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, if your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called dry eye. Dry eye is also when your eyes do not make the right type of tears or tear film.

How Do Tears Work?

When you blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye. This keeps the eye’s surface smooth and clear. The tear film is essential for good vision.

The tear film is made of three layers:

  • An oily layer
  • A watery layer
  • A mucus layer

Each layer of the tear film serves a purpose. These three layers work together to keep our eyes lubricated, clean, and free of harmful germs. With every blink, tears wash debris out of our eyes and help our vision stay clear and comfortable. That means that while we sleep, the gunk isn’t getting cleared out, which is why we have that grit in the corners of our eyes when we wake up. Also, have you noticed you feel better after a good cry? This is because emotional tears clear out some of the chemicals that build-up due to stress. When we cry for emotional reasons, we’re purging harmful chemicals and triggering hormones to regulate pain, so let the tears flow for a good cry every now and then!

Tears Help Us Feel Better

Naturally, our eyes constantly make tears to stay moist. If our eyes are irritated or we cry, our eyes make a lot of tears. Sometimes, the eyes don’t make enough tears, or something affects one or more tear film layers. In those cases, we end up with dry eyes.

Dry Eye Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms of dry eye.

  • You feel like your eyes are stinging and burning.
  • Blurred vision, especially when reading
  • There is a scratchy feeling like something is in your eye.
  • There are strings of mucus in or around your eyes.
  • Your eyes are red or irritated, especially if you are in the wind or near cigarette smoke.
  • It is painful to wear contact lenses.

We Can Help Relieve Your Dry Eyes

Dry eye happens when something goes wrong with normal tear production, and it leads to numerous problems and leaves the eyes very uncomfortable. It becomes more common with age and is often a side-effect some medications. If you’re experiencing dry eye, schedule an appointment TODAY so we can help you with your dry eyes.

We get a little teary just thinking about how much we LOVE our patients!

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