The natural tears that your eyes produce are composed of three layers: (1) outer oily layer, (2) middle watery layer, and (3) inner mucus layer. Dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have excessive evaporation of tears due to improper chemical composition of the tear film.
Dry eyes are caused when your eyes do not produce enough tears, or the tears do not have the normal chemical makeup. Your eye doctor can prescribe one or more of the following treatment options: Use of artificial tears provides most patients temporary relief of symptoms. These tears are used throughout the day and are readily available. Lubricating ointments, applied at bedtime, are commonly used for more severe cases. Other treatments include a minor, in-office procedure to insert small plugs (temporary or permanent as needed) in the corner of the eyes. These special collagen or silicone plugs help reduce or eliminate your dry eye problems. This is a painless, reversible procedure that has helped thousands of patients with dry eyes. The plugs work by keeping your own natural tears in your eye longer to overcome your dry eye symptoms. In rare cases, surgery may be recommended.