When you begin to experience dry eyes – this classic dryness, itching, stinging and redness – it is understandable that you assume that your tears are to blame. But it could be more complicated. In some cases, dry eye problems may be due to apparently unrelated eye conditions .
That's why this really makes sense.
There are two ways in which your eyelids can help lubricate your eyes. Lora Glass, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Ophthalmology Medical Education at the Columbia University Medical Center. "One is to coat the eye," she says, which is achieved by blinking. If you blink, the eyelid actually spreads across the eye and directs the solution into small holes called puncta which essentially dissipate excess fluid.
The other way eyelids help is the production of your tears. Glass protected by a three-layer film. "Tear film is not one thing, it's a complex structure and the eyelid helps create some of the layers," she says. In particular, the meibomian glands (which sit directly on the edge of the eyelid) produce a complex lipid layer (fats) that prevents the tears from evaporating too quickly.
When there are problems One of these procedures can cause dry eyes.
If there is a problem with the eyelid, it is not uncommon for symptoms of dry eye to occur as well.
Anatomical problems can interfere with the ability of the eyelids to spread tears and leave parts of the eyeball exposed and prone to evaporation, Dr. Glass. This could include a type of congenital defect that is "extremely rare," says Dr. Glass. Normally, people notice that the skin of their lower eyelids gets a little looser and naturally falls off with age.
You may also find that your upper and lower eyelids do not meet as well thanks to cosmetic means as they are used to environmental interventions or certain autoimmune diseases such as thyroid eye disease which may cause the eyes to bulge , or Sjögrens's disease, which often affects the moisturizing glands in your eyes.
Apart from anatomical problems Any inflammation or obstruction of the meibomian glands can prevent the formation of this lipid layer in the tear film, says dr. Glass. As a result, the tear film dries faster than usual, resulting in dry, irritated eyes. So if you're someone who is prone to Blepharitis or Styes, it would not be surprising for you to have dry eyes too.
If your eyelid problem is actually your fault Dry eyes could affect your treatment plan.
There are some tell-tale signs that your eyelids are the cause of your dry eye problems. According to Dr. Glass might tell you:
- Your eyelids look different. Maybe your lower eyelids, for example, are a bit drooling.
- You can see more of your eye white than before.
- They commonly have blepharitis, styes or other eye infections.
- They do not quite close their eyes when they sleep (this is often caught by a partner, says Dr. Glass).
The appearance of any of these symptoms – especially if you also have dry eye symptoms – is one reason for this. Glass. If your eyelid is ultimately responsible for your dry eye problems, your doctor may be able to treat both conditions more effectively by first targeting the eyelid.
However, the exact treatment plan depends on the specific problem you are dealing with. For example, if you have blepharitis, you may be instructed to use warm compresses regularly to heat up the clogged lipids. "The oil should look like olive oil sitting on the counter – a bit yellow and translucent," says Dr. Glass. "But when it's clogged, it looks white and hard like olive oil in the fridge." Constant warm-up should help bring the oil back to its normal consistency. There are also various over-the-counter options that you can try to eliminate any encrustation that could become clogged up and prescription drugs for the treatment of inflammation, she says.
However, your problem is more anatomical and related Depending on the severity of your symptoms, it may be necessary to correct lubricant or surgery after aging or previous surgery.
In autoimmune diseases, treatment of the underlying condition can gradually resolve eye problems without other problems, says Dr. Glass. For example, if it is a thyroid gland disease, "a phase worsens and then there is an improvement," she says. "An eyelid that may be really withdrawn or very high could approach or even normalize over a year or two." Then you can start with lubrication or other treatments to stabilize your symptoms before deciding if surgery is needed.
Above all, it is important to contact your doctor if you have persistent eye problems – even if it is the underlying problem. Cause is not obvious.