Tears are more than the byproduct of a good cry. They are also necessary to eye health—functions include, lubricating the eyes and removing irritants, while also containing immune-boosting proteins and other substances that help fight infection and maintain overall eye health.
When tear ducts don’t function as they should, dry eye occurs, which can lead to dry eye syndrome.
This can happen if one’s eyes don’t produce enough tears, the tears are off poor quality or they evaporate faster than they should. The result is dry irritated or stinging eyes that can cause a great deal of discomfort and even issues with vision.
Sufferers often turn to their healthcare providers—family doctors and optometrists—for answers and solutions. As most clinicians know, the cause of dry eye vary and it’s worth digging to find out why a patient is experiencing dry eye.
Common factors include:
- Screen use
- Certain medications (anti-depressants, antihistamines, diuretics, blood pressure meds, HRT and more)
- Laser eye surgery (often temporary)
- Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- Hormonal changes (women experiencing menopause)
Labtician Théa, a leader in the development of preservative-free products designed to improve eye health, states that “for the majority of people the most logical way to improve dry eyes is to artificially replace the tears and by doing so improve both quantity and quality. If you wait until your eyes hurt to put in tears, the surface damage is already there and you are too late. For tears to work, they must be put in regularly to keep the surface from drying out and getting damaged in the first place.”
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common conditions in the world and among the top reasons people visit an optometrists for advice. Solutions span everything from lifestyle changes to targetted treatments, such as eye drops formulated specifically to both relieve symptoms and protect the eye from damage.