Although you may believe tears are only formed for crying, they are actually extremely necessary for general health and wellness. In general, tears are your body’s way of reliving stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration. But when it comes to your specific eye health, tears are also equally important. Healthy tears lubricate your eyes, remove irritants in your eyes, reduce stress hormones in your body, and release antibodies that ward of pathogens in your eyes.
However, when your tears don’t properly do their job you can contract what is called dry eye syndrome. While dry eye syndrome isn’t dangerous in any way, it is a painful condition that can cause itchiness, reddening, light sensitivity and blurring of vision. Although there are many symptoms of dry eye syndrome, the condition is usually caused by inadequate moisture that builds up in your tear glands and the tear ducts. This can lead to inflammation and the formation of excessive tears and mucus on your eyes. With that in mind, here are some ways that your tears can become insufficient in quality, and what you can expect in terms of symptoms.
How Can Your Tears Become Insufficient In Quality?
Healthy tears contain a robust combination of oil, water and mucus. The oil in your tears helps to prevent them from evaporating before they have lubricated your glands. This occours not just when you cry, but also when smoke, exhaust or other chemicals get in your eyes in order to flush them out. The mucus helps spread the tears evenly across your eyes, lubricating every prat of the glands and the eyes themselves. An insufficiency of either oil, mucus, or the water for the tears themselves can cause dry eyes.
The most likely cause of a deficiency in either oil, water or mucus in your tears is age. In fact, dry eyes are largely considered a normal part of the aging process. It is widely estimated that dry eye syndrome effects nearly 5 million American who are 50 and over. Dry eye syndrome is much more common in women after menopause. It disproportionately effects women at about twice the rate as men and can be damaging for women who go through premature menopause.
There are other factors that can contribute to contracting dry eye syndrome aside for natural aging. These include taking certain medications, such as certain antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and blood pressure regulators. Other medical conditions can also bring on dry eye syndrome, particularly ones that attack your immune system, including diabetes,rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid problems. Dry eye syndrome may also be brought on by environmental factors, such as being exposed to an excess of smoke, wind or dry and sticky air, or even long term contact lens use or laser eye surgery.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, and feel that your tears are insufficiency lubricating your eyes, you should consult a medical professional so that you can begin to receive immediate treatment, both for the health of your eyes and to improve your overall quality of life.