Your body is a complex yet well designed machine that knows how to repair and maintain itself. It knows when and how to produce lubrication for the body parts to function smoothly. One of the greatest examples of such lubrication are your tears. Your eyes completely rely on the tears for moisture and lubrication. Without proper moisture and lubrication, your eyes would not be able to maintain proper vision and stay comfortable.
Wondering how your tears can lubricate your eyes when they appear to be just water? Although the tears look like nothing more than water, however actually they are a combination of water, oils, mucus, antibodies and special proteins. Every component has a reason to be there. Water helps keep your eyes moisturized, the oils help maintain proper lubrication, the mucus helps the tears spread all over the eyes, while the proteins and antibodies help fight foreign bodies and infections. The region inside and around your eyes has several glands that produce these components for proper eye functioning.
So what happens when the tear system is off the track and doesn't produce the required components to keep your eyes moisturized and lubricated? In such a scenario, you experience a condition called dry eyes. Dry eyes may feel uncomfortable with several other symptoms including pain, itching, redness, blurred vision, sensation of sand in the eyes and over-sensitivity to light.
Although dry eyes may not necessarily mean complete absence of tears from the eyes while you may at times notice excess tear flow. However, usually the eyes stay dry during the condition. It's just that dry eyes sometimes send a distress signal to the nervous system for more lubrication, resulting in excess tears. Even these tears are usually just water and lack all most of the other components, especially the oils. Without the oils the tears fail in providing your eyes the lubrication they need.
The most common cause of the dry eyes condition is the imbalance of the tear flow system or the lack of lubricating components in tears. The can also be other common causes of dry eyes which include, natural aging process, menopause, environmental conditions such as conditioned air and excess heat that leave your tear film dry.
Certain drugs can also cause dry eyes as side effects. Diseases that affect the ability to make tears, such as Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases may also cause dry eyes.
The condition is usually treated with artificial tears and eye drops. Changing the environmental conditions such as avoiding air conditioning may provide quick relief from dry eyes. While the condition may not cause severe complications, ignoring it may affect your eye functioning and vision.
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