401-822-2050
1013 Reservior Ave Suite B Cranston RI 02910

What Causes Your Dry Eyes?

Dry eye is caused by an imbalance in the tear film that leads to an
unstable tear structure.

Nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to have dry eye.  Three million are women and more than one and a half million are men. Dry eye is more common after menopause. Women who experience menopause prematurely are more likely to have eye surface damage from dry eye.

 

What Causes Dry Eye Symptoms?

It is important to understand the underlying cause of dry eye in order to provide an effective treatment. Dry eye is caused by an imbalance in the tear film that leads to an unstable tear structure. A stable tear film provides the outermost protective layer to our eyes which helps to ensure clear vision. There are two reasons why the tear film can break down. The leading cause of dry eye is due to meibomian gland blockage in the eyelids. These glands secrete lipid oils that create the outer protective layer to our tears and are essential to keep the whole tear structure intact. A lesser common cause of dry eye is a reduction in tear production.

 

 

OIL (LIPID) LAYER:
 Its main purpose is to seal the tear film which helps reduce evaporation of our natural tears.

WATER (AQUEOUS) LAYER:
 Its job is to lubricate the eye, wash away particles and prevent infection.

MUCIN LAYER:
 The mucin layer allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the surface of the eye and helps the eye remain moist and lubricated. It also provides the underlying cornea with nourishment. This layer helps the tears stick to the surface of the eye.

Meiboimian Gland Dysfunction

 

Changes to the amount or quality of the glands, can lead to MGD. The most common type, obstructive MGD, happens when the gland openings get clogged, and less and less oil reaches the eye surface.