What are dry eyes ? What is eye dryness ? Dr. Ashley O’Dwyer is explaining it in a very clear and simple way in this video.


What is eye dryness ? What does it mean ?

If you’re blinking and your vision is changing upon the blink, a lot of that’s due to that tear film. When you blink, the tears are spread across your eye and if that’s out of whack then your eyes can be considered dry. So if anything affects those three layers of your tear film, your eyes are considered dry. Another thing you’ll feel is discomfort or a gritty feeling.

What is going on with the eye when you’ve got eye dryness ?

When your eyes are dry and you’re getting these problems, what’s going on with the eye ? When you look at the eye, over coating the front part of your eyes is the tears. Most people think of the tears is just kind of a liquid layer but it’s actually made of three different parts.

  • A mucin layer which helps cling the tears to your eyes off of the cornea.
  • An aqueous layer or the liquid layer
  • A lipid layer, which is kind of like an oily substance

That last layer (lipid layer) helps the liquid to stay on your eyes and prevents it from evaporating very quickly. So when you have a nice oily layer (lipid layer) on the top, the tears stays stuck on your eyes and they stay nice and hydrated.

Tear film layers and eye dryness

So when you have any of those layers that are not doing their job or they’re or they’re off or too high or too low, your eyes are gonna feel dry. The main two layers that we will focus on are the aqueous and the lipid layer.

Aqueous layer

Let’s start with the aqueous layer ! This layer of the tear film is produced by the lacrimal glands. They are located right up of the eyes. When one of your eyes feel dry, you get a signal to your brain and then to your lacrimal glands that tells your eye to produce more of this liquid to keep it nice, coated and hydrated. In a lot of times, people get really watery eyes and it’s actually eye dryness ! This seems counterintuitive because there’s a lot of water then why would your eyes feel dry ?

Well what happens is when your eyes feel dry, you get that signal to produce more tears and you keep producing tears quicker than they can even drain so then they keep watering. Watery eyes is often a very big sign of dryness. What also can happen is due to inflammation either in the lacrimal gland or the eye and you get a decrease of secretion of that aqueous layer.

Oily / Lipid layer

The lipid layer of the tear film is produced by the meibomian glands located in the eyelids. When they’re working properly, whenever you blink, they secrete a lipid and keeps a nice amount of oil at the front of your eyes and that helps to control tears evaporation. If for any reason, you don’t have enough of this oil being secreted, your tears are flying off your eyes very quickly and so you have to keep producing more tears to keep your eyes feel hydrated.

In an ideal world, you have the perfect amount on there so the tears stay on your eyes longer and you’re more comfortable, which is great ! What can happen is because these glands are located in the eyelid margin, makeup can kind of hinder it, keeping that on there over the day. Over time, these glands can kind of shrink up and not secrete as much oil. Reduced secretions can cause some issues as well. The good news is, is because these multiple steps, there’s a lot of things we can do for eye dryness depending on what’s going on in your eyes. The best thing for you to do is talk about this to your eye care provider and have them help you with which ones you have to kind of work on and make that better so that you can have nice comfortable vision all the time.

Hopefully this video helped you, if you have any question about this video, feel free to send an email at the dryeyeguru@gmail.com



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