My eyes were tight shut that day, about 7-8 years ago.
I had many activities lined up for the day. Frantically, I rubbed my eyes, groped my way to the bathroom, splashed some water, and rubbed the eyes some more. It did not help, so I decided to rest for sometime and then get up.
A few minutes later, I found my eyes felt worse. Even the soft morning light seemed to be too penetrating to keep my eyes open. Something was certainly wrong.
A long story short, I rushed to the nearest eye hospital, cancelling every other job I had. I panicked. Was I going blind?
Dry eyes. That’s what the doctors told me. And my rubbing had caused lacerations on the cornea, so he prescribed some medicines for the eyes to heal, with some advice to take rest.
What are Dry Eyes?
The eye depends on the flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain vision and comfort. Tears are a combination of water, for moisture; oils, for lubrication; mucus, for even spreading; and antibodies and special proteins, for resistance to infection. These components are secreted by special glands located around the eye.
Functions of tears:
1) Tears protect the eye. If your eyes get too dry you will develop ulcers and scarring on your eyes.
2) Tears nourish the eye.
3) Tears refract light. They help bend the light so as to fall on the retina so that you can see nice and sharp images.
The tear film under the eye lids has three basic layers: oil, water and mucus. The outermost is the lipid, center is the aqueous, and at the base of the tears is the mucin.
Oil. Small glands on the edge of the eyelids (meibomian glands), contains fatty oils called lipids. These smooth the tear surface and slow evaporation of the middle watery layer. If your oil glands don’t produce enough oil, the watery layer evaporates too quickly, causing dry eyes.
Water. The middle layer is mostly water with a little bit of salt. This layer, produced by the tear glands (lacrimal glands), cleanses your eyes and washes away foreign particles or irritants. If the tears are insufficient, the oil and mucus layers can touch and cause a stringy discharge.
Mucus. The inner layer of mucus helps spread tears evenly over the surface of your eyes. If you don’t have enough mucus to cover your eyes, dry spots can form on cornea, the front surface of the eye.