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Dry Eyes Syndrome

Dry Eyes TopekaDry Eye Syndrome is a common disorder which affects the tear film in our eyes. Our eyes depend upon a constant flow of a complex and delicate thin film of tears to lubricate, protect, and comfort our eyes. Tears are composed of water, oils, mucus, and antibodies with proteins which are continually produced and secreted in order to moisturize, cleanse, resist infections, and lubricate our eyes. Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition in which there are insufficient tears or an imbalance in the critical tear components within this intricate and effective moisturizing, cleansing, and lubricating film which coats our eyes. The medical term for dry eye is Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or KCS.

Our Eyes Have Three Main Layers of Tear Film

Most people don’t realize how intricately balanced the tears in their eyes really are, or that there are three main layers which make up the tear film in our eyes.

These three main tear layers include:

Mucus (or Mucin) Layer: This is the innermost and thinnest layer. Mucus is produced by the cells in the clear skin that lines the eye (conjunctiva) which helps the overlying watery layer to spread evenly over the eye.

Watery Layer: This middle aqueous layer is the largest and the thickest. This layer is basically a very dilute saltwater solution. Glands under the upper eyelids and accessory tear glands produce this layer. This layer’s function is to keep the eye moist and comfortable, as well as to help cleanse out any dust, debris, or foreign objects that may get into the eye. Defects of this watery (aqueous) layer are the most common cause of dry eye syndrome.

Fats or Oil Layer: The most outer layer is a very thin layer of fats or oils (lipids). The main function of this layer is to help decrease evaporation of the watery layer beneath it.

Symptoms

Dry Eye Syndrome may cause the following symptoms in the eyes:

Causes There are many causes which may result in a lack of adequate tears or an imbalance in the tear-flow system. Some of the most frequent causes include:

Diagnosis
Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes will help confirm the diagonosis.

Schedule an Eye Exam to Protect Yourself or Your Family
To help protect you or your family from the affects of Dry Eye Syndrome call us today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.