Just got back from the ophthalmologist who fitted me with a pair of tiny devices called punctal plugs. These small silicon plugs will hopefully prevent some of the dry eye symptoms I've been having.
I, apparently, make far too few tears and they evaporate too quickly causing dry eyes - an unpleasant condition.
Tears are quite a bit more interesting than I had realized. For example, it's tears, rather than blood, that deliver oxygen and electrolytes to the cells of the eye. And they're more than just saltwater. There are actually three layers to the tear system, a mucous layer on the surface of the eye that helps the tears flow across (and stick to) the eye, the watery layer containing the oxygen and electrolytes, and an outer lipid layer that acts as both a lubricant between the eye and eyelid and as an evaporative barrier for the watery layer.
My condition is that I'm both not making enough of the watery stuff and I'm not making enough of the oily stuff, so my too few tears are evaporating too quickly. Contact lenses have aggravated this condition that's why I've now got these punctal plugs.
The mechanics of the plug is pretty simple. It works like this: you have four tear ducts, these are drainage pipes, not the thing that actually makes the tears (that's a tear gland and is located in the eyelid,) one at each of the top and bottom of the inner corner of each eye. When you produce tears, they flow out across the eye and either drain through the punctum (tear duct) or evaporate. Plugging some of those drainage ducts with a small silicon plug will hopefully keep more of the tear around for longer and relieve some of the symptoms of dry eyes.
The next step I'll take is investigating the various nutritional changes I can make to encourage better production of the lipid layer to reduce evaporation. Recent studies suggest that the essential fatty acids EPA, DHA and GLA can play a significant role in producing that film layer. My diet is already fairly rich in fatty fish like salmon so I get those omega-3 fatty acids but I might seek out an additional supplements.
(What? You expect only Mozilla news here?)