The symptoms can range from occasional and mild inconvenience to waking up to the eyelids stuck together and even adhering to the eye surface with acute discomfort lasting all day.
In order to determine possible causes and treatment it is necessary to have an understanding of how the surface of the eyes function.
- Eyes are dependant upon tears to keep them constantly moist and lubricated to maintain comfort and vision.
- Tears consist of water to keep the eye surface moist, oils for essential lubrication, mucus to allow the tears to spread evenly over the surface and antibodies together with certain proteins that resist and fight infection.
- Glands around the eye secrete these complex tears and if there is a dysfunction then the symptoms of dry eyes will appear.
In this case the tears will consist almost entirely of water and lacking the necessary components to lubricate the eye surface.
It seems a contradiction but excessive tears are a symptom of dry eyes and are a result of a distress signal sent by the eyes to the nervous system that they are not obtaining sufficient lubrication.
All these excessive tears are capable of is washing away some wastes from the eye surrounds and without the oils and mucus they do not coat and moisturize the eye effectively.
Apart from excessive watering, other symptoms of dry eyes are pain, in and around the eyes, a sensitivity to light, grittiness in the eye, itching, redness, or blurry vision
Causes Of Dry Eyes
* air conditioning or other dry air environments
* hay fever and other allergies
* natural aging processes
* side effects from certain medications
* a number of diseases and problems with the structure of the eyes.
A severe dry eye reaction in the eyes is one of the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome and is mostly accompanied by an excessively dry mouth.
It is a difficult disease to diagnose correctly despite a reasonably high incidence of varying intensity among adults.
Although there is no cure, relief through regular medication is obtainable.
Dry eye syndrome cannot be cured, but artificial teardrops and lubricating ointments can relieve the symptoms but it is important to keep to regular applications even if your eyes feel fine.
Eyes can dry out while you sleep so remember to apply a lubricant at bedtime.
Other treatments include the temporary or permanent blocking of the ducts that drain the eyes and, surgery, and prescription medications as advised by your eye specialist.
If you find that the discomfort from sticky eyelids on waking and excessive tears is increasing accompanied by a dry mouth then be persistent with your medical advisor, ask for a referral to a specialist.
You might be suffering from early stage Sjogren’s syndrome and as we have already mentioned it is difficult to diagnose.