Dry eye is the inability to produce enough tears, or the proper quality of tears to keep the eye comfortable and healthy. Two types of tears are produced by healthy eyes: those that constantly lubricate the eye and those that are produced in response to irritation or emotion.
Usual symptoms include:stinging or burning scratchiness stringy mucus in/or around eyes irritation from smoke or wind, excessive tearing, poor reading tolerance and blurry vision and difficulty wearing contact lenses.
There are many reasons for developing dry eye. Among them are: Aging, arthritis, reduced tear secretion often also associated with dry mouth. Medications such as diuretics; betablockers; antihistamines; sleeping pills; pain relievers; alcohol; and "nerves".
Treatments vary but include using over-the-counter artificial tears; increasing the humidity levels in a home or office; coating the eyes with an ointment at bedtime. Restasis is medicated drop that actually helps the eye to produce a better quality and quantity of tears safely. Increase of Vitamin A in-take and omega 3 fatty acids may also be helpful as well as wearing wrap-around glasses (although illegal for driving in some states). Minor surgery to close the tear drainage canal from the eye to the nose works just like putting a plug in a drain to keep the water in the sink.