What is dry eye?

When eye does not produce tears properly it result in dry eye, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly.

In addition, inflammation of the surface of the eye may occur along with dry eye. If left untreated, this condition can lead to pain, ulcers, or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. However, permanent loss of vision from dry eye is uncommon.

Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:

  • stinging or burning of the eye;
  • a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye;
  • episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods;
  • a stringy discharge from the eye;
  • pain and redness of the eye;
  • episodes of blurred vision;
  • heavy eyelids;
  • inability to cry when emotionally stressed;
  • uncomfortable contact lenses;
  • decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention;
  • eye fatigue.

 

Types of dry eye?

1) Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye

2) Evaporative dry eye may result from inflammation of the meibomian glands

 

Dry eye can be associated with:

  • inflammation of the surface of the eye, the lacrimal gland, or the conjunctiva;
  • any disease process that alters the components of the tears;
  • an increase in the surface of the eye, as in thyroid disease when the eye protrudes forward;
  • cosmetic surgery, if the eyelids are opened too widely.

 

Who is likely to develop dry eye?

  • Dry eye can occur in any age group however Elderly people frequently experience dryness of the eyes.
  • More common occurrence of dry eye is after menopause. Women who experience menopause prematurely are more likely to have eye surface damage from dry eye
  • After any surgery of eye
  • Long hours of computer work
  • Weather conditions can also contribute to dry eye