What is Dry Eye?
This is a condition when the eye does not produce tears properly, 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, as well as 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 air-conditioned offices and inside of airplanes.
- 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
Types of dry eye
1 Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye
Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye is a disorder in which the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface.
2 Evaporative dry eye
Evaporative dry eye may result from inflammation of the meibomian glands, also located in the eyelids. These glands produce the lipid or oily part of tears that slows evaporation and keeps the tears stable.
Symptoms & signs
- Stinging or burning sensation 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