Dry eye is the generic term for the discomfort felt when the eye either produces too little tears or the tears evaporate from the eye surface too rapidly.
People who suffer from dry eyes can experience red eyes, burning or grittiness and the pain then induces the wateriness that can cause confusion leading to a common question "How can my eyes be dry when they are always watering?"
There are certain immune diseases which cause the tear or lacrimal glands to reduce production of the watery component of tears, but over 80% of dry eye problems stem from the progressive loss of the Meibomian glands in the upper and lower eyelids, which cause a reduction in the protective layer of lipids to the outer surface of the tears allowing faster evaporation from the eye. This progressive loss can be caused by age, gender, contact lens wear and extended computer use among other things. This loss or blockage of gland function is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
MGD is chronic and progressive but can be treated and the progression slowed. Most people who have been diagnosed with dry eye have tried the first line of treatment (lubricating eye drops), but when the relief is short-lived and the dryness becomes more pervasive, that's where we can help.
Step 1 is to discern whether, or not it is evaporative dry eye caused by MGD.
Step 2 will determine how far the disorder has progressed.
Step 3 is the treatment plan.