Tears are an important part of eye health and allow for the smooth, comfortable movement of the lids across the eyeball. This lubrication protects the eye structure from inflammation. Made up of a combination of oil, water, and mucus, if any of these three ingredients are reduced or missing, the eyes become dry and irritated.
For well-lubricated eyes, the tear glands and oil glands must be functioning as nature intended. People who have a condition called blepharitis in which the edge of the eyelids are inflamed are prone to develop dry eye. Some other skin disorders can also affect tear production, such as rosacea.
An unfortunate fact of life is that as we age, our tear production becomes less and less. Many people aged 50 and older begin to suffer from dry, irritated eyes. You may have already made a habit of applying commercial eye drops to stay comfortable – but is there a more serious condition? Only a comprehensive eye exam can identify what is causing your dry eye – and we are here to help.
Women develop dry eyes at a higher rate than men, which is attributed to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, menopause, or the use of birth control pills. If you are one of the many women who are suffering with this condition, it is important that you get your eyes evaluated by a skilled ophthalmologist at the Waring Vision Institute.
If your eyes are dry, you are at higher risk of developing more serious eye conditions and diseases, including:
- Eye infections
- Damaged eye surface, potentially permanent
- Trouble driving, reading or other life activity