What is it?

Dry eye syndrome, also known as tear film insufficiency, sicca, and dysfunctional tear syndrome, is a disorder in which the layer of tears that coat your eye isn’t working properly. The lacrimal functional unit, which is responsible for maintaining a good quality tear film over the eye, is composed of the lacrimal glands, the eyelids and the ocular surface. If one of them isn’t functioning properly, the tear film can be damaged causing dry eye syndrome. Risk factors include advanced age, female gender, diabetes, parkinson's disease, contact lenses use, some medications, nutritional deficiencies, low humidity and more.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Dry Eye

Signs & symptoms

People suffering from dry eye syndrome commonly feel chronic eye irritation, burning and discomfort. Other symptoms include tearing, blurry vision, a sensation of sand in the eyes, light sensitivity. These symptoms can be exacerbated when the eyes are exposed to wind, cold weather, and low humid environments.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of dry eye syndrome is based on physical examination and symptoms. Common physical findings supporting dry eye syndrome include redness, tearing, blepharitis (inflammation and reddening of the eyelid), reduced blink rate and visual impairment that improves with eye lubrication. The doctor can also use a schirmer's test to determine whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist.

Treatment

The treatment aims to improve symptoms. The most common treatment is artificial tear supplementation. These include drops, gels or ointments. Avoidance from air conditioning, heating, wind and other exacerbating factors is recommended.
Punctal occlusion- Temporal or permanent plugs of the puncta ( tear drainage holes) can be used in an attempt to reduce tear drainage.
Topical low dose glucocorticoids can help to relieve symptoms but are only useful on a short-term basis due to their side effects
Scleral contact lenses can be used in cases of severe dry eye syndrome. These are special, large contact lenses that can help preserve a tear reservoir.
Surgery may be used to correct eyelid abnormalities causing dry eyes.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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