Lid Margin – Tear Film Department
Are you suffering from Dry Eyes?
The dry eye - keratoconjunctivitis sicca - is a common and serious disease where severeal different structures within the eye can be involved. It is an inflammatory disease, which comes with significant symptoms and can lead to severe damage of the eye. Diagnostic and treatment are often far away from trivial, due to the complexity of the disease.
Patients with dry eyes have various different symptoms, like foreign body sensation within their eyes. Other symptons can be burning or itchy eyes. Surprisingly even excessiv tearing can be a hint to a disturbed tearfilm.
If you are suffering from dry eye symptoms you should consult a specialist to detect what exactly causes your problem.
What are typical symptoms of a dry eye?
- redness of the eye
- foreign body sensation
- sandy, gritty sensation
- enhanced mucus secretion
- excessive tearing (!)
- sensitivity to light
- blurry vision
- tired eyes
- swollen eye-lids
- aglutinated eye-lids
- contact lense intolerance
- problems while computer work
- intolerance of cosmetics
- irritation from wind/smoke/aircondition
Dry eye disease, or dry eye syndrome, is a common, yet frequently underestimated, clinical condition that can significantly impact a persons quality of life. Approximately up to 34% of human beings are suffering from dry eyes.
Why is a healthy tear film so important?
Tears, or better, the tear film consists of three different layers, which are complicatedly built and are moistening the ocular surface, the inner lid, conjunctiva and cornea.
Thus the ocular surface stays smooth and makes a healthy/good visual auccuracy possible. A dry ocular surface gets sore and dull and leads to lowered visual accuracy
produced by the meibomian glands
=> responsible for preventing the aqueous layer from evaporating from the eye
produced by the lacrimal glands
=> nourishes, protects and lubricates the eye
produced by the goblet cells
=> connects the aqueous layer with the cornea
A healthy tearfilm prevents the eye from infections by profiding germicidals. This is necessary because the eye is obviously exposed constantly to environmental influences. The risk of eye-infections is elevated for people suffering from dry eyes! A key role of a healthy tear film is supplying the transparent cornea (our window to the world) with oxygen, nutrients like glucose and the disposal of metabolism products.
Oxygen ist directly recruited from the air via the tearfilm and then transported to the cornea. Our cornea doesn‘t have any blood vessels, for not affecting our visual accurancy. Normally our body recruits oxygen with the help of our bloodsystem.
If you suffer from an irregular tearfilm your cornea needs to start an "emergency program" to provide oxygen for the ocular surface, resulting in increased redness of the eye. Having dry eye symptoms can be way more than a simple irritation of the ocular surface. It may lead to other, more severe, diseases of the eye and should be properly diagnosed by a professional. The fine-tuned regulatory system of the tear film as a functional unit reacts on external, endocrinologic and cortical influences. If a disturbance of one of these components occurs it may lead to a destabilisation of the tear film, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
Reasons for tear film instabilty are reduced secretion of tears, delayed clearance and a changed composition of the tear. Especially a changed composition or osmolarity is seen as an important pathogenic factor for dry eye disease, leading to inflammations of the surface cells on the cornea and conjunctiva.
The dry eye syndrome is a multifactoral disease of the tears and the surface of the eye. This leads to discomfort, visual defects and tear film instability, with possible damage of the ocular surface. This comes with an increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammations of the ocular surface.
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