What are Tears?

Proteins, water, fatty oils and bacteria-fighting substances make up a healthy recipe for clear vision. Tears make up this complex mixture of electrolytes and liquids that keep your eyes smooth and clear, and help regulate the processes of the cells within the eyes.

The Three Layers of Tears

Small glands found inside the upper eyelids produce tears that keep the eyeball lubricated and protected from damage. Every time you blink, healthy moisturizing tears spread a film across the surface of the eye. There are three basic layers that make up the tear film:

  1. Small glands called meibomian glands found on the edge of the eyelids produce oil on the outer layer of the tear film. It slows down the evaporation of the middle watery layer.
  2. Water and a little bit of salt is the thickest of the three layers. The tear glands – or lacrimal glands this middle layer of the tear film. Its function is to wash away irritants and foreign particles
  3. The mucus is found in the inner layer and allows tears to spread evenly across the surface of the eyes.

Dry Eyes

Tear production is important in fighting off infection and maintaining the health and comfort of the eyes. Many people suffer from dry eye syndrome, which is an imbalance of the three layers of tear production. The eye vision specialists at Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc. offer the latest procedures to take care of your dry eye syndrome. The most common causes of dry eyes and inadequate tear production include:

  • Environmental factors – sun, wind, high altitude, dry climate
  • Aging
  • Eyelids problems including poor lid functioning
    • Ectropion – out-turning of lids
    • Entropion – in-turning of lids
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medications – prescription and over-the-counter drugs:
    • Diuretics, drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure
    • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure
    • Antihistamines and decongestants
    • Sleeping pills
    • Birth control pills
    • Certain antidepressants
    • Isotretinoin-type drugs for treatment of acne
    • Opiate-based pain relievers, such as morphine
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • LASIK – temporary after effect
  • Dry air from working in commercial airplane cabins

The eye normally blinks once every 12 seconds. Tears evaporate if the blink rate decreases. Certain visually intensive tasks such as driving, reading and long term computer work means less blinking and an increase in dry eye problems.

If you’re suffering from dry eyes, please come see the eye and laser specialists at Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc. Contact us for a consultation and examination to determine the best treatment for all your vision needs. Your perfect vision is our priority.