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Dry Eye

Description of Dry Eye

Because the front surface of the eye or cornea requires a constant film of fluid to keep it washed every time the eyelids blink open and closed during the day, tears which are secreted by the lacrimal of tear gland are required constantly. However the tear film also contains a lubricant in the form of a lipid which is secreted by the small meibomian glands which are embedded in the eyelids and some mucous which is secreted by the goblet cells in the conjunctiva of the eyelids.Any disease process involving either of these three entities will disturb the tear film resulting in intermittent blurred vision and irritable sore red eyes with a sensation of scalding or burning and itching.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Dry eyes are particularly common in general medical diseases affecting the lacrimal gland directly such as rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders. However diseases affecting the eyelids with damage to the meibomian glands in the eyelids or involvement of the goblet cells of the conjunctiva such as blepharitis or injury can also result in dry eye problems.

Treatment of Dry Eye

Treatment involves the use of replacement therapy such as artificial tears and lubricating drops and ointments. Flax seed oil taken by mouth can also help and treatment of any associated general medical conditions is also advisable. In severe cases, a minor operation to plug tear drainage channels in the lids (canaliculi), in order to conserve the small volume of available tears is also helpful and can be done by an ophthalmologist.