Why do some eyes tear when they are dry?
This may happen because the meibomian glands are not properly functioning, so the tears are running down the cheek instead of staying on the eye. Or, if your eyes became irritated, the lacrimal gland may produce excess reflex tearing to soothe your eyes. However, these excess tears are not the correct consistency to provide lubrication for the eyes.
How do tears work?
Tears are made up of three layers:
Mucin layer: This is the base layer of tears. It works like a glue to keep tears on the eye.
Water layer: This is the middle layer of tears and is produced by the lacrimal gland, which sits above the outer part of your top eyelid.
Oil layer: This is the outer layer that helps prevent tears from evaporating. It is produced by the meibomian glands (located at the base of the eyelashes).If any of these tear layers are not working properly, it can cause dry eye.
What can I expect at my dry eye exam?
- A thorough review of your medical history
- Testing for tear quantity and quality
- Testing for the presence of inflammatory markers in tears
- A thorough exam of your eyelids, eyelashes, eyelid glands, conjunctiva, and cornea
- A treatment plan tailored to you
- A follow-up appointment to monitor your progress