Our tears have three layers: a top layer of oil, a middle layer of water which makes up the bulk of our tears, and a bottom layer of mucous which holds our tears onto the eye. Deficiencies in any one of these three layers leads to dry eyes.
Dry eye is often described as itchy, scratchy, gritty or burning sensations on the eye itself. Chronic redness or the loss of brightness which is often interpreted as “just how my eyes look now,” blurred vision, and yes even watery eyes are symptoms of dry eye.
But how does one ‘get’ dry eye? Throughout our lifetime our tear makeup is always changing due to environmental, nutritional, and even emotional stresses. There are long lists of medications (Ex: antihistamines, antidepressants, or birth control) and medical conditions (Ex: Sjogrens, Arthritis, Thyroid conditions, or use of a CPAP) which cause dryness and need to be discussed with your optometrist. Allergens -something we have in abundance here in Kansas City- inflame the ocular tissues and hamper proper tear production. In the last 20 years ever-increasing digital device use is now causing dry eye in even children, not to mention adults. The causes are indeed plentiful.
The eyedrop aisle at your local pharmacy has enough options of drops it can be impossible to deduce which is your best option, making it is critical to discuss any symptoms and have your eyes assessed properly by an eye doctor before beginning treatment. Whether over-the-counter treatment or stronger prescription strength therapy is needed will be discussed by our experts.