What is dry eye?

What is dry eye?

Dry eye disease is a condition in which a person does not produce enough tears, or the tears that are produced do not adequately lubricate the eye. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including dryness, itching, and irritation of the eye. It can also cause problems with vision, such as blurred vision or sensitivity to light. If dry eye disease is not appropriately managed, it can cause permanent damage to the front surface of the eyes.

A common cause of dry eye disease is a problem with the quality of tears. This is due to the lack of appropriate balance of oils, water, and mucus coating the front surface of the eye, causing tears to evaporate too quickly. A huge contributor to this is meibomian gland dysfunction, or MG. This occurs when the oil prodoil-producingin the eyelids become blocked, impaired, or atrophied. Causes of MGD include blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), hormonal changes, certain medications, and certain medical conditions such as rosacea and diabetes. Extended screen time and reduced blink rate can also contribute to MGD. Symptoms may include dry, red, or watery eyes; a feeling of grittiness or foreign body sensation; and sensitivity to light. In severe cases, MGD can lead to scarring and deformities of the eyelids, as well as to more serious eye problems such as corneal ulcers.

Another common cause is a deficiency in the production of tears. This can be due to various factors, such as age, certain medications, or underlying health conditions such as sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, and diabetes.
Dry eye disease is typically diagnosed through a combination of a physical examination of the eye, a review of the person's medical history, and various tests. These tests may include measuring the quantity and quality of tears, assessing the health of the front surface of the eye, and checking for signs of inflammation.

Treatment for dry eye disease may include the use of artificial tears, ointments, and other lubricants to moisten the eye. In some cases, the person may be prescribed medication to help increase tear production or to stabilize the tear film. The patient may also be prescribed in office procedures such as IPL, meibomian gland expression, punctal plugs, specialty contact lenses, and amniotic membranes. It is also important for people with dry eye disease to take steps to manage their condition, such as avoiding dry environments and using a humidifier, and to follow their treatment plan as directed by their doctor.
It is important to seek treatment for dry eye disease, as it can lead to long-term damage to the surface of the eye and even vision loss if left untreated.

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye disease, it is important to speak with an eye care professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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