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Have Dry Eye and Don’t Know it?

Do your eyes feel itchy, gritty or like you have something in them? You may have dry eye and don’t know it.

Dry eye is one of the most common reasons patients visit an ophthalmologist. It’s estimated that as many as 25 million Americans suffer from it. Most commonly, it afflicts women and the elderly. And it can make your life miserable.

Tear film is what keeps the eye moist and properly lubricated. Tear film is composed of three different parts: water, mucin and oils. The oils are produced in the eye lids, the water comes from the lacrimal glands, and the mucin comes from the white of the eye. If there is damage to any one part of the eye, it will result in different degrees of the condition.

Dry eye has several causes. The most common is inflammation in the lacrimal gland, causing the gland to reduce the production of tears that lubricate the eye. Other causes include blocked oil glands in their eye lids and scaring of the white part of the eye called the conjunctiva, which damages another component of the tear film.

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Source: Eye Surgery Education Council