Keeping an Eye on Your Visual Health

By Jane Therrien

The eye is arguably the most intricate and distinguishing feature in our bodies. It contributes to making each of us undeniably unique. It is second to the brain in being the most complex organ, yet each weigh just under an ounce. One example of the amazing intricacy of the eye is the cornea, the outer most layer. The cornea is composed of tissue which contains no blood. This blood-less tissue (the only tissue of its kind) allows light into your pupil. One deep anatomical dive and you would find that the cell structures within our eyes — for example, rod-shaped cells allow us to see shapes, and cone-shaped cells allow us to see color — are just as unique as our fingerprints. In fact, a fingerprint is made of 40 unique characteristics, but an iris has 256! This sophistication makes it important to “keep an eye” on your optic health.

The most common eye syndrome, at roughly three million U.S. cases per year, is dry eye. An adequate and consistent layer of tears on the surface of the eye is essential to keep your eyes healthy, comfortable and seeing well. There are different categories of dry eye, depending on which component is affected. For example, if the meibomian glands don’t produce or secrete enough oil (meibum), the tear film may evaporate too quickly –  a condition called “evaporative dry eye”. 

A common symptom of dry eye includes a foreign body sensation – the feeling that grit or some other object or material is “in” your eye. And as odd as it may sound, watery eyes also can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. This is because dryness on the eye’s surface sometimes will over-stimulate production of the watery component of your tears as a protective mechanism.

Thankfully, there are effective treatment options if you suffer from chronic dry eye. In many cases, routine use of preservative free artificial tears, as well as minor behavioral modifications (taking frequent breaks during computer use, for example) can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms. 

If you’re not experiencing any visual problems or eye discomfort, it may be hard to rationalize a trip to your eye doctor. “What’s the big deal?” you may be thinking. “I can see fine. I don’t need an eye exam.” While that may well be the current case, you want that to be the case for years to come. The majority of eye diseases are asymptomatic until they reach later stages and become serious, threatening overall vision. A comprehensive annual eye exam will allow your eye doctor to evaluate the health of your eyes and make recommendations based on their current state. 

  • If you would like a comprehensive eye examination to evaluate the health of your eyes, contact Dr. Jane Therrien to schedule an appointment. Her practice, Weston Family Eyecare, is located at 4472 Weston Road. Call 954-888-9393 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Therrien and her staff look forward to exceeding your expectations.