Dry Eye

The surface of the cornea has to be smooth and well lubricated to focus light sharply onto the retina. If the cornea becomes dry, patients will typically experience tearing, blurry vision that “comes and goes,” or a sensation that there is “something in my eye.”

There are 3 critical components of healthy tears: mucin (mucus layer), aqueous (water layer), and lipid (oil layer). The mucin layer allows the tear film to stick to the surface of the eye. Without this layer, the surface of the eye will not be properly “wetted.” The aqueous layer is the water layer that is produced from the lacrimal glands. The aqueous layer lubricates the surface of the eye and provides growth factors and enzymes that promote ocular health and fight infection. Certain systemic (whole body) diseases are associated with aqueous deficiency, so it’s important that your doctor knows what to look for to identify and properly treat your condition. Finally, the lipid layer is produced by tiny oil glands in the eyelids. This oily layer prevents tears from evaporating. Inflammation of the eyelid or blepharitis can cause a deficiency of this layer and resultant dry eye syndrome.

During his corneal fellowship, Dr. Kennedy learned new strategies to treat dry eye syndrome. He works with primary care providers and rheumatologists to ensure that dry eye syndrome is not part of a whole body disease that can be related to more serious health problems.