Dry Eye or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Have you ever noticed stinging or burning eyes, scratchiness, stringy mucus around the eyes, irritation from smoke or wind, excess tearing or difficulty wearing contact lenses? These are all symptoms of dry eyes. Dry eyes are the result of tear evaporation rising as the ability of your tears to stick to the surface of the eye decreases. This happens more as we age, when we stare at a computer screen, work in an area with dry heat or air conditioning or take certain medications that reduce tear production. In simple terms dry eyes are the result of not being able to produce enough tears to keep your eyes comfortable. Everyone needs a film of tears to spread over the eye by blinking for good vision to be possible.
Dry eye can vary in severity but can usually be treated by replenishing tear film using either over the counter eye drops or prescription drops that can actually encourage your eyes to produce more tear film. Other treatments include retaining tears by placing tiny silicone plugs in the eye or sometimes treating an underlying problem such as an infection of the eye lid glands.