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Description & Process

Dry eye disease is a condition caused by severe dry eyes. Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. Tears are also the first layer of your eyes’ surface. Not only the help smoothen the eyelid movement over the eyes, but they also provide a protective layer on the eyes.

If your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called a dry eye. When you blink, a thin film of tear spreads over your eyes, which keeps the surface of your eyes smooth and clear. A tear film is made up of 3 layers, an oily layer, a watery layer and a mucus layer. An oily layer is the outer layer of the tear film made up of the oil released by the eye’s meibomian glands located at the base of the eyelashes. Amongst other functions, it prevents the eyes from drying up too quickly. The watery layer is the middle layer of the tear film that cleans the eye and washes away particles that do not belong in the eye. This is the thickest layer of the tear film and is secreted by the lacrimal glands located under the outer corner of our brow bone. Lastly, the mucus layer is the inner layer of the tear film that keeps the eye moist by holding the tear film on the surface of the eyeball. This mucus layer is produced by the cells in the conjunctiva. Some symptoms of dry eyes include, stinging and burning in the eye, blurred vision and the presence of water and mucus in the eyes. Some causes of dry eyes include, diseases such as, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disease and lupus, blepharitis (when the eyelids are swollen), entropion (when the eyelids turn in), looking at the computer screen for a long time, wearing contact lenses for an excessive period of time, and having refractive eye surgery such as, LASIK. Dry eyes can be diagnosed by a comprehensive eye exam by your ophthalmologist. Based on the cause, based on the layer of tear film that is deficient, the treatment of dry eye varies.

In a province like Alberta, where the weather is very dry, dry eyes is very common. Additionally females due to their hormones, are more commonly affected by dry eyes.