How Dry Eyes Can Threaten Your Eye Health

How Dry Eyes Can Threaten Your Eye Health

Almost 16 million Americans have dry eye disease, a condition in which the tear layer covering the eyes becomes abnormal. While the most obvious symptom is eyes that feel dry and scratchy, sometimes the saline tear component overproduces, and dry eye is actually quite wet. 

While heavy use of digital screens contributes to the increase of the condition, dry eye is a side effect of other conditions or a disorder on its own when tear production is irregular. No matter what the reason for your dry eyes, the specialists at IC Laser Eye Care can diagnose and treat your condition. The symptoms are manageable, and you can avoid further complications to your eye health with a visit to one of our offices in Philadelphia and Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, New Jersey. 

Three layers of tears

It’s easy to think of your tears as salty drops of water, but they’re far more complex than that. Composed of three specialized layers, your tears require a tight balance to properly nourish, protect, and lubricate your eyes. 

There are two types of tear dysfunction: inadequate tears or tear quality. When you don’t have enough tear volume to protect your eyes, it could be due to tear underproduction, a common occurrence as you get older, or from tear overevaporation, such as from exposure to the elements or conditions in which you blink less, such as during screen viewing. 

Tear quality is an issue when you lose the proper balance between the oily, saline, and mucus layers of normal tears. In either case, you could experience: 

Some dry eye symptoms resulting from quality issues may be different. Mucus or saline overproduction could cause stickiness or watery eyes, respectively. Eye irritation from any cause of dry eye disease could create an overproduction of the saline layer, also resulting in watery eyes. It’s common for dry eye disease to be quite moist, but no less irritated. 

Potential complications of dry eyes

Most people can tolerate occasional experiences with dry eyes. Dry eye disease is typically more chronic, and its impact can be much more disruptive than the occasional dry eye episode. Without adequate tear protection, you might be more prone to eye infections and the consequences that those may carry. 

Without treatment, chronically dry eyes can lead to inflammation and possible damage to the cornea, such as scratching or ulcers. These could be severe enough to lead to vision impairment. 

Overall, the quality of your life could suffer, interfering with daily tasks or activities that bring you enjoyment, such as reading or watching television. 

Depending on the reasons for your dry eyes, treatments range from several types of artificial tears and eye drops to plugs that can slow the drainage of tears from your eyes. 

Your doctor at IC Laser Eye Care can diagnose and treat dry eyes and their symptoms, no matter what the underlying cause. Contact the closest location by phone or online to arrange your examination. You’ll see easily and clearly sooner than you might have expected. Book your consultation now. 

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