Dry eye syndrome is a common condition of the eyes. It occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or when they don’t produce the right kind of tears.

Your tears are made up of three layers: an oily layer on the outside, a watery layer in the middle and an inner mucus layer. Together, these layers are called the “tear film;” it helps keep the surface of your eyes smooth, clear and protected from infection. Here’s how it works:

A problem with any of the layers within your tear film can cause dry eye. For instance, the oily layer meibomian glands where the oily layer is created may become blocked. Or, sometimes our eyes don’t make enough tears. This can be caused by hormonal changes as we age. Other causes of dry eye include:

There are several steps you can take to treat dry eye syndrome, as well as some everyday best practices for avoiding environments that may cause dry eyes. First, have an eye exam. Your eye doctor will look at your eyelids and the surface of your eyes. To test for dry eyes, your doctor may measure the quality or thickness of your tears or measure how quickly your eyes produce tears. If it’s determined that you do have dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor will suggest treatments based on the cause and severity of your condition. This may be artificial tears (over-the-counter eye drops), increasing your tears with prescription eye drops, fish oils, blocking your tear ducts, or simply treating your eyes with home remedies such as warm compresses and massaging your eyelids.

dry eye basics

But the first step to treating your dry eyes is always the same: make an appointment with your doctor so we can look at your eyes and give you the right diagnosis and personalized treatment.


Our Optical Department will close at 2:00 PM on November 20th to attend the memorial service for a dear friend and colleague. 

We apologize for the inconvenience.