Illness, eye allergies, physical dehydration or environmental conditions such as dry or polluted air or humidity, Kleyne explains, can dehydrate the eyes and the body. This eventually leads to impaired lachrymal glands, a major cause of dry eye. In addition, dry facial skin, especially dry, flaky or inflamed eyelids, can cause the meibomian glands to not function properly, also leading to dry eye symptoms.
According to Kleyne, tear producing lachrymal glands sit next to and above the eyeball. Nerves controlling lachrymal glands are more complex than those controlling meibomian glands. The emotional drive for tearing is mediated through the seventh cranial nerve. The lachrymal gland contains estrogen, prolactin, androgen, insulin and other hormone receptors.
Tears produced by lachrymal glands, Klyene notes, consist of water, salt (electrolyte), protein, antibodies, growth factors and enzymes. All are essential to the health of the epithelium, the clear membrane covering the white of the eye, called the "sclera," and the clear part of the eye, called the "cornea."
Meibomian glands, says Kleyne, resemble elongated grape clusters. Glands express oil into a central duct that discharges onto the eyelid margin. Ducts can undergo keratinization (hardening) when surrounding tissue is inflamed, thereby blocking the duct. Keratinization can occur due to both chronic obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction and bacterial blepharitis (eyelid inflammation).
To optimize eye gland health, Sharon Kleyne recommends drinking at least eight glasses of pure water each day, in addition to all other fluids, and making a concerted effort to keep the eye surface and the facial skin fully moisturized and humidified with pure water.
According to Kleyne, Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® from Bio-Logic Aqua Research, quickly supplements lost moisture in the tear fi
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