Dry eye disease (DED) is a multifactorial condition in which a person either does not produce enough tears or has poor quality of tears that evaporate too quickly. The tear film serves to bathe and protect the front surface of the eye. It is necessary for maintaining the health of the cornea, and for providing clear, comfortable vision with each blink. When the surface of the eye is exposed to environmental stress or is damaged from lack of stable tear film, it may activate an inflammatory response that can result in the common symptoms of dry eye disease. Over time, dry eye disease may progress into a chronic condition, and can potentially damage the surface of the eye, increase the risk of eye infection, and impair vision. Dry eye disease is an extremely common condition that affects nearly 30 million adults in the United States.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Quality of life and daily activities can be negatively impacted by dry eye symptoms. Common symptoms of dry eye, as described by patients include: Extreme dryness on the surface of the eye may stimulate excessive tearing, causing some dry eye patients to experience watery eyes, burning or stinging, gritty or sandy sensation, tired eyes, light sensitivity as well as contact lens discomfort.
WHAT CAUSES DRY EYE DISEASE (DED)?
Dry Eye Disease (DED) can have many causes. The prevalence tends to increase with age and with females. Other risk factors include use of certain medications, contact lens wear, autoimmune diseases, post LASIK and refractive surgeries, as well as menopause. DED can also be caused by diets low in omega-3’s. Environmental factors can also play a role in DED, which include areas of low humidity, drafty environments and prolonged digital device use.