Tears serve as our eyes’ first line of defense against irritants like dust and germs, washing them away with every blink. They also enable our eyes to turn and swivel comfortably. When the tears run dry, our eyes are left itchy, irritated, red, and sometimes swollen. Millions of adults in the US alone suffer from dry eye. So why does this happen and what can we do about it?
The tear film in our eyes has a specific composition, consisting of an outer oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucous layer. There are several ways it can be disrupted, each resulting in dry eye. The overall tear production can decrease, tear evaporation can increase due to a disruption of the oily layer, or the composition can become imbalanced. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Whatever the cause is behind dry eye, it’s important to treat it so that it doesn’t have a chance to get worse. Dry eyes are more vulnerable to getting scratched and infected, and without enough tears, vision can become blurred. If your dry eye is the result of too much screentime, try to take frequent breaks and remember to blink normally. For other causes, artificial tears (eye drops) are a great solution.
You can also incorporate more foods rich in Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, such as liver, carrots, broccoli, fish, and walnuts. These are important nutrients for eye health and tear production. You might also want to switch from contact lenses to glasses.
Check out this video for a great tip on stimulating tear production at home:
Your best chance of getting your tears flowing again is to come see us so that we can determine the cause of your dry eye and find the treatment that will give you the best results. We can also make sure that the dryness hasn’t led to additional complications.