Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

Tearing Eyes Need Attention

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

Tearing Eyes Need Attention

Article excerpt

It seems strange that tearing eyes need eye drops, but they do. Regular use of lubricating eye drops of the proper composition can help ease eye discomfort and prevent unsightly redness of the eyelid margins in many cases.

The reason you need moisture for eyes that already "water" is that tearing is frequently due to irritation. Eye-moistening drops reduce the irritation that causes watering in the first place.

Healthy tears form a smooth, uninterrupted film over the eye that is replenished with each blink. This complex film--comprised of mucus, water, and oil layers--keeps the cornea moist, cleans it of debris to promote clear vision, and protects the eye from bacteria and viruses.

When tears lack important components, however, the complex film breaks down, resulting in dry spots on the cornea that can trigger a cycle of eye irritation and excessive tearing.

We asked Indiana University ophthalmologist Dr. Shailaja Valluri about conditions that can cause disruptions in the tear film.

"There are several reasons why people get this problem," Dr. Valluri said. "As we age, we produce fewer tears. Some people may develop a dysfunction of the tiny oil-secreting glands that line the eyelids. In both instances, the tear film breaks down and tears evaporate faster than usual. In other patients, their eyelids do not close properly and, again, the tears evaporate too quickly.

"Medicines and systemic conditions may also interfere with the production of normal tears. …

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