Geckos Lick But We Don’t — Dry Eye

Dry Eye

It is surprising to think that watery eyes are sign of dry eyes but they are! Ever see a gecko lick its eyes? Well, those animals don’t have eyelids so they have to keep the skin of the eyes moist by licking them. If they don’t lick then they can’t see, because the skin of the eye would become like a dried-up and dirty window.

In the human eye there are two sources of tears.  One source is from the lacrimal glands which sit just above the eyeball, ready to spill tears at the slightest irritation or strong emotion. The other source is the eyelids which produce a constant protective layer of tear film over the surface of the eyeball every time we blink. So unlike the gecko, we do not have to lick our eyes constantly to keep them moist! Just blinking with our eyelids keeps them comfortable.

When blinking goes wrong eyes can get dry, and the lacrimal glands are activated to help out.  This gland can get a little too spunky and produce too much tearing! Which is nice, but not helpful, and it can be a little annoying.

Dry eyes are a common problem resulting in inefficient and poor vision. But you don’t have to live with it. Dry eyes can be treated with simple use of lubricating eye drops, or a variety of more advanced therapies.

By Sumati Deutscher, O.D.

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