Have you ever had that feeling of something in your eye when you knew they were clear? Do your eyes ever feel itchy or gritty or tired, particularly at the end of the day? You may have Dry Eye.
Dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis is common. In fact, studies estimate up to 30% of people may experience dry eye at some point in their lives. It is more common in people over 60 – particularly menopausal women. Whilst dry eye is not normally serious, in extreme cases it can damage the eye and vision. Whilst there is no cure, most people can be kept comfortable using eye drops.
Every blink spreads tears across the surface of the eye and these tears form a tear film which hydrates, lubricates and protects the surface of the eye so that vision stays clear and comfortable. When the tears produced are insufficient to replenish the tear film, or the tear film is unstable, eyes can feel gritty, scratchy and irritated, an issue more commonly known as dry eye.
Dry eye is common, studies estimate that up to 30% of people may experience it at some point in their life. It is more common in people over 60 - particularly women. Dry eye is not normally serious, there is no cure but most people can be kept comfortable using eye drops. In extreme cases dry eye can damage the eye and vision.
A healthy tear layer consists of three distinct layers each one works differently and together keep your eye moist and lubricated.
This is produced by the lacrymal gland. It is the central component of the tear film and accounts for about 98% of tear volume. It consists mainly of water but also contains other substances such as electrolytes and proteins, which nourish the eye. This layer also washes away irritants, keeping the eye healthy.
This is the inner and foundation layer of the tear film which anchors the film to the cornea. It is produced from goblet cells within the conjunctiva. Its key functions are to facilitate film distribution evenly over the corneal surface and adherence to the corneal epithelium.
This layer is composed of oils secreted by the meibomian glands. This is the outermost layer of the tear film covering the aqueous and mucin layers and providing a barrier which delays tear evaporation and retains moisture. The lipid layer also protects the eye surface from contamination.