When you blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye. This keeps the eye’s surface smooth and clear. The tear film is important for good vision.
Each layer of the tear film serves a purpose.
The oily layer is on the outside of the tear film. It makes the tear surface smooth and keeps tears from drying up too quickly. This layer is made in the eye’s meibomian glands.
The watery layer is in the middle of the tear film. It makes up most of what we see as tears. This layer cleans the eye, washing away particles that do not belong in the eye. This layer comes from the lacrimal glands in the eyelids.
The mucus layer is the inner layer of the tear film. This helps spread the watery layer over the eye’s surface, keeping it moist. Without mucus, tears would not stick to the eye. Mucus is made in the conjunctiva. This is the clear tissue covering the white of your eye and inside your eyelids.
Normally, our eyes constantly make tears to stay moist. If our eyes are irritated or we cry, our eyes make a lot of tears. But sometimes the eyes don’t make enough tears, or something affects one or more layers of the tear film. In those cases, we end up with dry eyes.
It is advisable to tell your ophthalmologist about all the prescription and non-prescription medicines you take.
It usually begins with a detailed eye exam. The eyelids, the surface of the eyes, as well as the blink rate is checked.
There are many different tests that help diagnose dry eye such as Ocular surface staining, TBUT, Schirmer’s, Meniscometry that measures the quality or the thickness of tears, how quickly you produce tears and how effectively they wet the eyes.
As a dietary supplement (pill or tablet), you can add Omega-3 fatty acids. These naturally occur in oily fish (like salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, and anchovies) as well as in flaxseeds.
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