Dry eye

Dry eye

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly because the oil glands are blocked or abnormal.

This leads to the eyes drying out and becoming inflamed (red and swollen) and irritated.

The condition is also known as dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. If the main problem is a blockage of the oil-secreting glands, then the condition is called blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction or lid margin disease.

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can be mild or severe. They include:

  • Dry or sore eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • The feeling of something in your eye
  • Burning
  • Watering

Dry eye syndrome can have a number of causes, including:

  • Certain chronic diseases
  • Side effects of medicines
  • Hormonal changes
  • Old age (up to a third of people aged 65 or older may have dry eye syndrome)

Treating dry eye syndrome
  • Treating the underlying cause
  • Using ocular lubricant eye drops
  • Corticosteroid drops to treat inflammation
  • Improving the oil layer of the tears (warm compressions and oral omega-3 fatty acids)