Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eyeand for providing clear vision by lubricating and nourishing the eye. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.
With each blink of the eyelids, tears are spread across the front surface of the eye, Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts, in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain to the back of the nose. Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage.
Inadequate amount of tears – Tears are produced by several glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production tends to diminish with age, with various medical conditions, or as a side effect of certain medicines. Environmental conditions such as wind and dry climates can also affect tear volume by increasing tear evaporation. When the normal amount of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes, symptoms of dry eye can develop.
Poor quality of tears – Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water, and mucus. Each component serves a function in protecting and nourishing the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps to prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucin layer functions in spreading the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop.
People with dry eyes may experience symptoms of irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, a feeling of something in their eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision. Advanced dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision.
Treatments for dry eyes aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and related discomfort and to maintain eye health. Dr. Felton has extensive knowledge on the treatment of dry eyes and is available and willing to solve your dry eye problems today.
Eye allergies, also called "allergic conjunctivitis," are a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens - pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander - that get in the eyes and cause inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner eyelid. While eye allergies can affect anyone, they can be particularly hard on contact lens wearers. Even if you don't generally experience problems wearing contacts throughout most of the year, allergy season can make contacts uncomfortable. Extended wear time and infrequent lens replacement are two of the main reasons contact lens wearers face more prevalent symptoms.
Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies. At some point they come into contact with a substance that triggers an allergic reaction in their eyes.
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis is a type of allergic conjunctivitis caused by the chronic presence of a foreign body in the eye. This condition occurs predominantly with people who wear hard or rigid contact lenses, wear soft contact lenses that are not replaced frequently, have an exposed suture on the surface or the eye, or have a glass eye.