Dry eye is a chronic, complex and multi-factorial disease. There is no single cure for dry eye. However, every person has unique factors that contribute to their symptoms of eye discomfort. A full dry eye specialty evaluation with Dr. Gilles can help identify under-managed areas in your current treatment routine. Dr. Gilles takes pride in providing her patients with individualized in-office and at-home treatments to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms with the overall goal of preventing worsening of your dry eye disease.
Dry eye is a complex and chronic disease caused by many factors. There are two major contributions to symptoms of eye discomfort. On one hand, we have structural changes occurring to the glands that are responsible for creating the tear film that coats your eye. These changes can be to the water/Lacrimal gland or, more commonly, to the oil/Meibomian glands. On the other hand, we have inflammation, which can come from a myriad of sources. Inflammation can occur due to underlying autoimmune disease such as rosacea, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disorder. Other inflammatory factors include environmental allergies, cosmetics/skin care products and dry/de-humidified environments.
Under management of structural changes (clogging of the oil glands) is the most common reason Dr. Gilles sees dry eye symptoms worsening in her patients. However, every patient is unique and depending on your factors of inflammation, you may have other aspects of your dry eye undermanaged as well. To fully understand why your symptoms of dry eye are worsening, book an appointment for a full dry eye evaluation.
There are multiple reasons that the eyes may water. However, in cases of slowly worsening, intermittent watering, it is most commonly due to a poorly functioning tear film. The tear film is a protective coating that covers the front of the eye and allows for normal functioning and comfortable vision.
The tear film can be broken down into two major functioning components. The Lacrimal/water gland is responsible for creating the inner water layer of the tear film. This layer keeps the surface of the eye hydrated and healthy. In contrast, there are Meibomian/oil glands in the eyelids that create an outer oil layer that mimics the consistency of olive oil. This layer is responsible for holding the tear on the eye.
Due to many factors, the oil glands close over time and quit properly producing the oil layer of the tear film. Because of this, the tear film is mostly water and prone to evaporating. Upon evaporation, a sensation of burning, grittiness, or dryness may be experienced. Alternatively, the eye may have reactive water tearing by the Lacrimal gland to make up for the evaporating tears. This can result in slowly worsening the watering of the eye. To better understand why your eyes are watering, book an appointment for a full dry eye evaluation.