Dry eye

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Overview

Dry eye disease (DED), also known as dry eye syndrome (DES), keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), and keratitis sicca, is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface due to a loss of homeostasis of the tear film. It often results in ocular symptoms and visual disturbance due to underlying tear film instability, ocular suface inflammation and damage, and neuorsensory abnormalities. [1, 2] Dry eye disease is a common form of ocular surface disease (OSD) and may overlap with other causes of OSD, such as limbal steam cell insufficiency and ocular graft-versus-host disease. [3]  


The ocular surface is an integrated anatomical unit consisting of seven key interactive and interdependent components: the tear film, the lacrimal and accessory lacrimal apparatus, the nasolacrimal drainage system, the eyelids, the bulbar and tarsal conjunctiva, cranial nerve V, and cranial nerve VII. [4] Abnormalities or deficiencies in any of the seven ocular surface components may worsen dry eye disease, yet promise opportunities for effective therapeutic intervention

Symptoms

A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes.

Stringy mucus in or around your eyes.

Sensitivity to light.

Eye redness.

A sensation of having something in your eyes.

Difficulty wearing contact lenses.

Difficulty with nighttime driving.

Watery eyes, which is the body's response to the irritation of dry eyes.


Causes

Sometimes, there's a lack of balance in your tear-flow system. Or your air conditioner, heater, or other things around you could dry out your tear film. Other causes include:


The natural aging process, especially menopause

Side effects of certain drugs like antihistamines

Diseases that affect your ability to make tears, like Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases

Problems that don’t allow your eyelids to close the way they should

Risk factors

The risk of the dry eye disease increases with old age, female gender, collagen vascular disease, antihistamines, postmenopausal estrogen treatment, refractive surgery of cornea, hepatitis c, androgen insufficiency, irradiation, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, vitamin a deficiency, medications such as 

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Complications

Eye infections. Your tears protect the surface of your eyes from infection. ...

Damage to the surface of your eyes. If left untreated, severe dry eyes may lead to eye inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal ulcers and vision loss.

Decreased quality of life.

Prevention

Avoid air blowing in your eyes. ...

Add moisture to the air. ...

Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. ...

Take eye breaks during long tasks. ...

Be aware of your environment. ...

Position your computer screen below eye level. ...

Stop smoking and avoid smoke. ...

Use artificial tears regularly.