Tears are made of three main ingredients: oil (called meibum), water, and mucin. The meibum creates a protective coating to keep our tears on our eyes and prevents them from evaporating too quickly, and mucin ensures our tears spread evenly across the surface of the eye. When our tears disperse too rapidly or do not spread uniformly, it can cause dry eyes.
There are several different glands in and around our eyelids that are responsible for tear production. Our eyelids naturally produce fewer tears as we age, while certain medical conditions and medications can inhibit tear production.
Environmental factors such as wind and dry climates can also cause our tears to evaporate too quickly, causing dry eyes.
Tailored Treatment Plans
Once we have determined the underlying reason for your dry eyes, we can create a tailored treatment plan to resolve the issue. This may include nutritional supplements, at home lid therapy, and in-office treatments.
Research has shown that certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, can help promote overall eye health and relieve dry eye symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have been found to reduce dry eye related inflammation and increase meibum production.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, as well as nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed), vegetable oil, soybeans, and green leafy vegetables, like kale. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens, as well as eggs.
At home treatments for dry eyes can include warm compresses, cleansing crusty lashes, artificial tears, and frequent visual breaks. When we stare at screens (including smartphones, tablets, and computers), we tend to blink less frequently. Our eyes rely on blinking to refresh our tear film, so when we don’t blink often enough, our tear film evaporates and is not adequately replaced with new tears.
One way to ensure you are taking frequent breaks is to follow the 20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, you should take a 20 second break and close your eyes for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to rest and refresh your tear film.
Perspectives Vision Clinic is proud to announce that we will soon be offering a variety of in-office treatments for dry eyes.