Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fast facts to know why do we get dry eyes?

The name “dry eye” can be a little confusing since one of the most common symptoms is excessive watering of the eyes! It makes more sense, though, when you learn that the eye makes two different types of tears. The first type, called lubricating tears, is produced slowly and steadily throughout the day. Lubricating tears contain a precise balance of mucous, water, oil, nutrient proteins, and antibodies that nourish and protect the front surface of the eye.

The second type of tear, called a reflex tear, does not have much lubricating value. Reflex tears serve as a kind of emergency response to flood the eye when it is suddenly irritated or injured. Reflex tears might occur when you get something in your eye, when you’re cutting onions, when you’re around smoke, or when you accidentally scratch your eye. Another cause of reflex tearing is irritation of the eye from lack if lubricating tears. If your eye is not producing enough lubricating tears, you may have dry eye.

Hormonal changes due to aging and menopause, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies can contribute to increasing dry eyes. Some diseases and conditions- like rheumatoid arthritis, menopause, lupus and Sjögren’s Syndrome- also cause dry eye in many patients.

Source: Health care booklet from Guardian pharmacy

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