Do You Have Dry Eye?
Most dry eye sufferers are not aware that they have this debilitating eye condition. Dry eye syndrome can leave your eye defenseless against foreign bodies, bacteria, viruses, allergens and even air itself. Without an adequate tear film, the eyeball can start to inflame causing redness, blurry vision and eye pain. It also affects our activities of daily living, especially in activities where we don’t blink often (ie. computer, tablet and TV viewing, driving, outdoor sports, and recreation).
As a pilot, having dry irritated eyes is unacceptable. Drops provided a temporary solution but putting drops in my eyes all day was a big inconvenience. After a few treatments with Lumenis Optima™ IPL my vision was back to normal. I have recommended the treatment to all my coworkers who suffer from the same problem.
– Josh Bauer, Commercial Pilot
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye is a condition where an individual needs more tears to lubricate the eye and maintain clear vision. It is a common and often chronic condition, especially among young professionals and adults. Age is a contributing factor.
There are two primary drivers: deficiency in tear production by the lacrimal (tear-delivering) organs and loss of moisture from over-evaporation. Both can prompt visual distress, regularly portrayed as a feeling of dryness and a sandy/abrasive sensation, or irritation. Visual weariness, irritability to light, and obscured vision are common outcomes of dry eyes which may eventually lead to further damage such as scarring of the outer layer of the eye.
Aside from the terms “dry eye disorder”, “dry eye illness”, or simply “dry eye,” other terms related to this medical condition include:
- Keratitis sicca – general term used to describe dryness and inflammation of the cornea.
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca – chronic loss of moisture of the conjunctiva and cornea due to an inadequate tear film.
- Dysfunctional tear syndrome (DTS) – common yet complex condition of aqueous deficiency dependent on the quantity/quality of tear film.
The skin on your eyelids is delicate because it is thin and frequently in motion. Moreover, the eyelids and encompassing zones are exceptionally vascular, implying that a great deal of blood passes through vessels around the eye. Due to this, aggravations or skin conditions have a greater risk of affecting the eyelid versus the rest of the body. From lack of moisture, the skin around the eyelids can be flaky, textured, and rough to touch which in result causes eye redness and irritation among others.
Another serious condition affecting the eyelids is called for lid wiper epitheliopathy. Just like how windshield wipers can go through wear and tear after enduring the harshness of the environment and friction from clearing the rain off our windshields, our eyelids can undergo similar consequences leading to inadequate lubrication resulting in frictional damage and inflammation of the marginal conjunctiva of the lid wiper region.
Dry Eyes in Morning
Dry eye is a typical condition caused by the deficiency of adequate tears, tear evaporation, poor eyelid function, or an imbalance in tear composition. It tends to cause some agony due to redness, irritation and sometimes burning sensation in the eyes. Furthermore, dry eyes in the morning can trigger “sleepy sensations”, making it difficult to start the day.
Some common reasons for waking up with dry eyes include:
- Sleeping with eyelids partially open (nocturnal lagophthalmos)
- Inability to produce enough tears
- Inability to produce high-quality tears to keep the eyes moist
- Environmental factors (especially in those using CPAP assistive devices)
One of the most common problems with overnight dryness are recurrent corneal erosions where a crater can form on the cornea upon opening the eyes first thing in the morning.
Dry Eye Blurry Vision
Hazy vision is one indication of dry eyes. Depending on the cause of dry eyes, the tear film may evaporate abruptly, or on the other hand, become too oily and viscous. Any of these conditions will prevent the tears from spreading smoothly and remaining on the cornea long enough for clear, comfortable, stable vision.
In addition to keeping the front of the eye (the cornea and conjunctiva) moist and healthy, the tear film is an important part of the visual system. For clear vision, your tears must have the right parity of water, oils, and bodily fluid to permit the tear film to spread equally over the surface of the cornea and stay limpid within a critical time frame.
Blinking/squinting frequently or as often as possible may incidentally help decline hazy vision from dry eyes because doing so re-spreads the tear film across the cornea.
Dry Eyes After Laser and Cataract Surgery
Dry eye is considered a common occurrence after LASIK vision correction surgery as well as cataract surgery. This may occur within weeks of surgery, or after. Some of these patients may already have had a degree of dry eye to begin with. The dry eye symptoms may be exacerbated due to post-surgery changes in routine, or by lack of corneal sensitivity to dry eyes.