Dry eyes are one the top reasons people visit an eye doctor, nearly half of Americans aged eighteen and older report having experienced dry eye symptoms. These symptoms include: burning, itching, eye fatigue, light sensitivity, foreign body sensation, and watery eyes. In addition, dye eyes can cause inflammation and sometimes even lead to damage of the eye’s surface.
Dry eyes are caused by inadequate quality or quantity of tears. Tears are made of three essential parts: the oily lipid layer, the watery aqueous part, and the mucus-like mucin layer. The lipid and aqueous parts of tears are produced by glands located in the eyelids. The lipid layers is produced by meibomian glands located along the edges of the eyelid. The aqueous layer is produced by lacrimal glands located behind the upper eyelid. The mucin part on the other hand is produced by cells in the conjunctiva (a membrane which covers the whites of the eyes). Determining which part of the tear is not being produced correctly is essential to successfully treating Dry Eye symptoms.