Dry Eyes & Dry Eye Problems
Dry eyes and dry eye problems are a very common eye condition that can affect eye health and vision. Anytime you do not produce enough tears, or if tears evaporate or drain too quickly, the symptoms of dry eyes may become present. The symptoms of dry eyes include a scratchy, dry, sandy or gritty feeling that can be accompanied by a stringy, clear, white discharge with noticeable pain and redness. Dry eye creates additional risk of corneal infection, as the tear film, which serves as a protective mechanism and contains a number of antimicrobial components, is deficient.
Excessive Evaporation of Tears
There are a number of factors that can cause an excessive evaporation of your tears such as exposure to forced hot air heat at home or at work, dry climate in general, air travel, reduced blinking from contact lens wear, reduced blinking from looking at a computer screen or reading for long periods of time, air pollution or even just blowing your hair dry. Your tears may evaporate too quickly if you suffer from low-grade eyelid inflammation, called Blepharitis. Within your eyelids are tiny tubular glands called Meibomian Glands. Inflammation of the eyelids, from Blepharitis, or a condition called Rosacea can cause the Meibomian Glands to stop functioning properly and decrease the production of the secreting their oily film.
About Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a common cause of dry eye as without the oily layer being present it is very likely tears will evaporate too quickly. This is an especially common problem for perimenopausal women, as it is believed that 75% of women in this age group have some presence of facial rosacea. This, along with the general hormonal changes occurring during this time, makes perimenopausal woman particularly susceptible to dry eyes. Further, your tear film may evaporate too quickly if the tears are not properly spread and replenished over the surface of the eye because of poor eyelid movement. This may be due to a number of factors including:
- Improper or incomplete closure of your eyes during sleep
- Eye “bulging” conditions that may be related to thyroid problems
- Loss of tone or shape of the eyelids so that they turn in or turn out, called entropion and ectropion.