Dry eye syndrome
If you were recently diagnosed with dry eyes, there’s actually more meaning behind those 2 words. Your optometrist will categorize your dry eyes, so they can tailor a treatment just for you.
Normally, your tears contains 3 things – water, oil and protein. If you have dry eyes, your tears are “sick” and there is an imbalance in the amount of water, oil and/or protein.
According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms, which usually affect both eyes, may include:
A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
Sensitivity to light
A sensation of having something in your eyes (foreign body sensation)
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Difficulty with nighttime driving
Watery eyes, which is the body's response to the irritation of dry eyes
Blurred vision or eye fatigue
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you've had prolonged signs and symptoms of dry eyes, including red, irritated, tired or painful eyes. Your doctor can take steps to determine what's bothering your eyes or refer you to a specialist.
Not Enough Tears
Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye (ADDE)
The water glands (lacrimal glands) that produce your tears are not functioning properly so they cannot create the water part of your tears.
Your tears lubricate and protect your ocular surface and if there isn’t a sufficient amount, you may experience pain with each blink. The friction against your delicate eyes is not comfortable.
Not Enough Oil
Evaporative Dry Eye (EDE)
Think of your eyelids as the windshield wipers of your car and the meibomian glands as the jets that expel washing fluid. Every time you blink, your windshield wipers (eyelids) help expel the fluid (oils) to prevent evaporation of your tears.
Your meibomian glands along your eyelid margin may be clogged so the oil portion of your tears aren’t secreting sufficiently. If you don’t have enough oil in your tears, they will evaporate and dry out very quickly.