THE SCIENCE OF TEARS; UNDERSTANDING DRY EYES SYNDROME

THE SCIENCE OF TEARS; UNDERSTANDING DRY EYES SYNDROME


To the ordinary person tears is just a fluid that comes out of the eyes during the expression grief or excitement. Its flow can also be triggered by external factors such as fumes, smoke and other substances like onions. But to the eye care professional, it is a very important compound secreted by mammals to maintain the health of the eyes and consequently the integrity of vision. The tear film is to the eyes what an engine oil is to machines, and the synovial fluid is to the joints in the human body. Tears is a lubricant that prevent friction between the surface of the eyes and the inner surface of the eyelids. The inadequacy or insufficiency of tears result into dry eyes disease which can cause mild to severe discomfort depending on the degree of the condition.


Dry eyes can simply be described as a condition of the eye in which the surface of the eyes becomes dry either due to tears insufficiency or deficient/low quality tears secretion by the tears secreting apparatus. The lacrimal apparatus includes the Lacrimal glands which produces the tears, the lacrimal ducts which secretes the tears, and the punctum which excretes the tears. Apart from the lubricant function of tears, there is also the nutritional function, as it helps to nourish the cornea and other tissues that overlay the surface of the eyes. Tears insufficiency and deficiency can be caused by part of complete defective lacrimal glands or ducts.


Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease

Dry eyes present with different signs and symptoms that includes; ocular irritation, ocular pains, redness, tearing, headaches, ocular tiredness, photophobia and blurry vision. These signs and symptoms vary across individual sufferer of dry eye disease, they may occur in isolation or in combination. But the symptoms alone are not enough for self-diagnosis as there are tests that should be carried out before the diagnosis of dry eye disease can be made and also the symptoms are not exclusively dry eye symptoms only. These tests are carried out to test for quality and quantity of test produced by an individual. The Schirmer test for example tests for tear quantity, while the tear break-up time can be used to test for tear quality as the higher the tear quality the longer it takes for the tears to dry up.


Management of Dry Eye Disease

Most dry eye diseases have no definitive treatment but can be adequately managed to mitigate the symptoms. Once a person is diagnosed by an eye care professional to have dry eye condition, he will either be placed on medication (mostly eye drops) or undergo surgical repair depending on the underlying cause. But commonly, sufferers are placed on ocular lubricants which are referred as tears complements or artificial tears to alleviate the symptoms.


In conclusion, whenever you have any of the previously listed symptoms try to visit a reputable eye clinic to have your examined by an optometrist for adequate care.

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