The eye is a vital organ that converts the reflected light from an object into neuron signals and feed them to the brain for processing and identification of the object.
The eyes can suffer from various conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, conjunctivitis, cataract, astigmatism, glaucoma, sty, infection and tumors. The eyelids blink several times a minute to clean the eyes and keep them moist, using the secretion of tears from the lacrimal gland. The lids also have a fast reflex action to protect the eyes.
Tears serve an important function in the health of the eyes. They wash off dust, chemicals, germs and other foreign bodies. They control the microorganisms in the eyes with their enzymes. In a condition called dry eyes, the tear gland does not secrete enough tears, or the quality of the liquid is poor and evaporates very fast. Normally the tears form three layers over the eye. The lacrimal glands produce water, and the small glands produce oil and mucus. The bottom mucus layer covers the cornea, and over it is the water layer with some nutrients. The outer oil layer prevents the water from evaporating.
Dry eyes are one of the old age problems, where not enough oil is produced. Some medications cause this problem. Hot, dry and windy weather can also lead to this problem. Menopause, thyroid conditions and vitamin A deficiency can also cause it. The person with dry eyes has itching, burning, irritation, blurred vision, discomfort and redness of the eyes. Surprisingly, there may be more tears secreted.
Treatment for dry eyes is planned only after finding the root cause of the problem. For old people with no specific problem, artificial tears two to three times a day and an ointment during the night can take care of the problem. The passage from the eyes to the nose, which normally drains the tears, can be plugged to keep enough tears in the eyes.
Dry eyes, if left untreated, can cause more severe problems for the eye. Drinking plenty of water, taking the eyes off of paperwork or the computer periodically, and blinking the eyelids deliberately are some of the ways we can assist our eyes.