The tear film is composed of 3 layers: mucous layer, water later, and oil layer. Any imbalance in the production of any of these layers may result in dry eyes. Dry eyes can be caused by a myriad of reasons, including allergy, medications, auto-immune diseases, Sjogren’s syndrome, or may be simply age related.
- Managing dry eyes includes different modalities:
- Replacing tears: This can be achieved by artificial tear preparations. There are many preparations available on the market. Each may be advantageous in a different way, depending on the type of tear deficiency. If you try using over-the-counter methods, please use artificial tears that are preservative-free!
- Slowing down the drainage of natural tears: This can be achieved by punctal plugs. Punctal plugs are tiny and microscopic, and they do as their name suggests – they plug the drainage pores of the eyelids to prevent natural tears from draining faster, thereby lubricating the eyes longer. This can be a very simple and effective method in managing dry eyes.
- Medicated drops: These work by reducing the inflammatory component of dry eyes, and may increase the tear film production overtime.
- Over-the-counter natural remedies: Fish oil and Flax seed oil have been clinically shown to help reduce dry eye symptoms by increasing tear production.