By Dr. Todd B. Lang –
Dry eyes affect over 20 million people in the US. It will usually start later in life, especially in women starting in the late 40s to early 50s. The symptoms start with a simple burning or dryness. This can progress to an itchy sensation, stinging, gritty or sandy sensation, light sensitivity, blurry vision, night vision problems, and yes, watery eyes! Sometimes watery eyes are caused by a plugged tear drain. However, more commonly, they are part of the symptomatology of the dry eye patient!
Who Suffers with Dry Eyes the Most?
Dry eyes does seem to be related to older people but some of the things that make it worse in older patients may produce it at a younger age. There is evidence that dry eye is more prevalent in diabetes, acquired immune deficiency, Vitamin A deficiency, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Scleroderma, Acne Rosacea as well as eyelid abnormalities or eyelid trauma. LASIK surgery causes a substantial increase in risk for dry eyes.
There are several categories of medications that decrease tear production. Certain medications used to treat blood pressure and heart disease such as beta-blockers. Antihistamines, decongestants, birth control, certain anti-depressants, ibuprofen – (Advil, Motrin ), Aleve, Isotretinioin-type drugs used to treat acne, and appetite suppressants.
Sometimes due to trauma, aging, or poor hygiene, people can develop scarred or deformed eyelid margins. The eyelid margin is the part of the lid that spreads the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. It is the area just behind the lash line. Sometimes people will develop a notched or scalloped like margin so that the tears are spread unevenly. This scarring will sometimes cause the eyelids to turn in or out. This prevents the lid margin to be in contact with the eyeball reducing the effective spread of tears also.
Tears are Made Up of 3 Layers
The tears are really made up of 3 layers. The innermost layer consists of mucin. The middle layer is a watery substance produced mostly by the lacrimal gland. The outermost layer is an oil layer. There are 30 – 40 tiny glands near the base of your eyelashes. These glands often get plugged up later in life. Sometimes this happens secondary to dehydration. (Most Americans are dehydrated!) Certain conditions like Acne Rosacea can create problems with these glands. Other dry eye causes can include wind, high altitude, dry climate, or any task requiring high concentration such as driving, computer use, driving, or reading.
Questionnaire to Determine Dry Eyes
Current theory by most experts in the area of dry eye believe the disease comes from low production of the middle water layer and/or malfunctioning oil glands called Meibomians.
Most Effective Treatments Available!
Total the numbers in the score column. If your score is 30 or higher, or you suspect you may have Dry Eye Syndrome, make an appointment with Dr. Lang today! He will provide you with the most effective treatments currently available! Call Bayside Eye Centre at 941-637-0202, or visit us online at www.baysideeyecentre.com.