Dry Eye is a very common condition, with many symptoms, but often discomfort or variable vision and one sign can be the eye looks a little red.
The tears are often assumed to be made simply from water, and if the eye waters then the tears must be ok. This is not the case. Tears are very complex and a watery eye could signify the eye is not being well lubricated.
The tears are made of three main components, mucus, grease and water. The mucus is produced from the surface of the eye, the grease from glands close to the eye lashes and the water is produced by the lacrimal gland. If the tear volume is reduced, it causes damage to the mucus layer and causes an inflammatory response. The grease stabilises the tear layer, and if the grease secretion is compromised the tears film may be stable for less than 10 seconds before some dry patches appear.
We have the equipment to measure tear volume and tear stability. We can asses the thickness of the grease ( lipid ) layer.
Dry Eye Disease results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance and tear film instability and it has the potential to damage the ocular surface. It is accompanied by increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface. The best ways of confirming the diagnosis of dry eye disease are:
- Assessment of how strong the salt concentration is in the tears - their osmolarity.
- Measurement of tear stability.