For the surface of the eye to stay hydrated, nourished and protected from the elements, we require a tear film. A disruption in the tear film and ocular surface will result in symptoms of discomfort and visual disturbance. There are essentially three layers of the tear film and the layers must be in perfect proportion to be stable and effectively produce clear and comfortable vision. Many things in life can alter the ocular surface and tear film such as: blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, chronic contact lens wear, a history of foreign bodies in the eye, eye surgery, hormonal changes, dehydration, lack of sleep, too much TV/computer use, environmental conditions, medications, medical conditions (especially thyroid, or inflammatory conditions like arthritis), etc.
There are many therapeutic options to manage all aspects of dry eye syndrome. However, often times the cause is multifactorial, whereby there is not just one reason for dry eye.
Our lifestyle, diet, and environment have caused dry eye to be one of most common concerns among the population today. There is much to learn about this condition but one should not assume everyone’s dry eye is the same. There are many different ways to naturally increase tear production and tear efficiency, so an assessment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist will assess each person’s unique condition.