Dry Eye and… Yoga???

Can downward dog improve my dry eye?

A study was published recently about dry eye and it’s improvements by doing deep breathing yoga. The study showed an increase in tear production and decrease in symptoms related to dry eye. This got me thinking, was it really the deep breathing, or was there maybe another factor?

Let’s look closer at dry eye

Dry Eye is a term used loosely in the medical community. I’m guilty as well. Many people suffer from Meibomian Gland Disorder, or evaporative dry eye disease. The tears in the eyes are more complex than just “tears.” They are full of electrolytes, mucous, aqueous (water), and oil. The oil, or lack of, is what most times cause dry eye. This oil is produced inside the lids in meibomian glands. When you blink there is a muscle that squeezes the glands, and the oil is pushed to the lid margin. When the eyelids are opened the oil is dispersed across the front surface of the eye. Just as oil and water don’t mix, this separating of oil and water keeps the tears on the front surface on the eye. When there is little or no oil, the tears evaporate, causing dry eye. Then a cascade of symptoms and events occurs, but we’ll discuss that on another post. A big component of not having oil on the surface on the eyes are incomplete blinks. We monitor the blink pattern using our LipiView system. In our modern age of technology and fast-paced lifestyle, we don’t have time to blink completely. When we don’t fully blink, the lids do not force the oil out and the oil gets trapped inside the glands. This clogs the glands so that less oil is secreted with a full blink.

Back to our topic on yoga and breathing, is it possible that yoga doesn’t increase the tears, but possibly we actually take the time to slow down and allow our eyes to blink completely? Namaste’.

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