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The term “dry eye” refers to a wide spectrum of ocular conditions.  The most common symptoms are dry, red, gritty, and even watery eyes.  It often feels as though there is something foreign on your eye. Every time we blink, tear glands within the eyelid secrete tears.  These tears lubricate the eye and help prevent infection. A healthy tear film consists primarily of a delicate balance of two layers.  A thin outer oily layer reduces evaporation of the tears.  Below the outer oily layer is a watery layer called the aqueous layer, which makes up 98% of the tear film.  It helps rinse and clean the front surface of the eye.  These normal tears nourish and refresh the eyes.

When the normal tear film breaks down, the eye begins to dry out.  When that happens our eyes begin to burn and often the tear gland releases watery tears.  These tears normally are only released to rinse out a foreign body or during emotional crying.  They cause inflammation and irritate the eyes.  That’s why dry eyes leads to red, burning,irritated eyes just like crying does.

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