As Tears Go By – Get Them Quality Checked

I am sure we all have our own personal collection of special songs – songs which have an intensely personal significance. They are instantly recognisable to us – after their first notes are played we are transported back in time, lost in a swirl of memories – good and bad.

For me “As tears go by”, by Marianne Faithfull, is just such a song. As the mournful lyrics begin – It is the evening of the day, I sit and watch the children play…” there I am, miserable and desperately home sick during my first term at boarding school.

In fact this song turned out to be a highlight of my unhappy education. At the age of eleven I was chosen – possibly because I had curtains of straight blonde hair – to mime to the Marianne Faithfull record at a school entertainment event.

Clutching a gonk (an egg-shaped soft toy much in fashion at the time) and looking suitably teary-eyed, I hammed it up mouthing convincingly: “Smiling faces I can see – But not for me, I sit and watch as tears go by Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm … ”

So when tears dropped into the conversation during my recent eye exam at the London Vision Clinic, I found myself mimicking Marianne Faithfull all over again. Fortunately I don’t think that the lead optometrist noticed – or maybe she was too polite to comment.

She had explained that I have a condition known as “Meibomian Gland Dysfunction” which is a relative of the less exciting-sounding blepharitis.

The meibomian glands, located in the eyelids, are responsible for secreting the oily layer of the tear film which is crucial in preventing rapid evaporation of the tears. When these pores are blocked the quality of the tears is affected which in turn produces dry eye symptoms which also can lead to poorer vision.

Apparently MGD is quite a common condition which, outside the London Vision Clinic, frequently goes undiagnosed. Even when discovered it often remains untreated or not treated effectively until it has become chronic or severe.

I was set homework in the form of a series of treatments I must follow night and morning. The ritual includes taking a flax seed oil (Omega 3) supplement to improve the quality of the oils from the meibomian gland; lid scrubs with baby shampoo and warm water; and , after ten minutes under a heated eye bag compress, some gentle lid massage.

I must confess there have been a couple of nights I have fallen asleep under the relaxing eye bag/mask; but I have kept up the routine at least once every day.

Perseverance is, apparently, essential so I am hoping that my meibomian glands will eventually spring back to their youthful vitality.

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