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Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have poor quality of tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, requiring prompt and direct treatment.



Symptoms of dry eyes and dry eye syndrome include:

  • Burning sensation

  • Itchy eyes

  • Aching sensations

  • Heavy eyes

  • Fatigued eyes

Another common symptom is something called a foreign body sensation — the feeling that grit or some other object or material is "in" your eye.

And as odd as it may sound, watery eyes also can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. This is because dryness on the eye's surface sometimes will over-stimulate production of the watery component of your tears as a protective mechanism. But this "reflex tearing" does not stay on the eye long enough to correct the underlying dry eye condition.

In addition to these symptoms, dry eyes can cause inflammation and (sometimes permanent) damage to the surface of the eye.



The development of dry eyes can have many causes. They include:

  • Age – Dry eye is part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over the age of 65 experience some symptoms of dry eye.

  • Gender – Women are more likely to develop dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.

  • Medications – Certain medicines, including but not limited to antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants, can reduce the amount of tears produced in the eyes.

  • Medical Conditions – Persons with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Sjogren’s, and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes.

  • Eyelid Disease or Dysfunction – Problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis or meibomianitis) or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eye to develop.

  • Environmental Conditions – Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for a long period of time, can contribute to dry eye symptoms. Exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climates or dry air can increase tear evaporation, resulting in dry eye symptoms.

  • Others:

    • Long-term use of contact lenses

    • Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK

    • Allergies

    • Immune system disorders

    • Insufficient vitamins

    • Skin diseases

    • Infrequent blinking
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