What is Dry Eye- Symptoms, causes, treatment

What is Dry eye?

Dry eye is a disorder of the tear film due to tear deficiency or excessive tear evaporation, which causes damage to the surface of the eye and is associated with symptoms of discomfort.

Epidemiology– 1 out of 7 people are seen to experience symptoms of dry eye between the age group of 65 to 84 years.

Classification of Dry Eye

Dry eye can be broadly classified into two types:

  1. Tear deficient type- due to lacrimal gland duct obstruction (lacrimal gland is the gland which produces tears), systemic medicines.
  2. Evaporative type- increase in the amount of evaporation from the ocular surface due to meibomian gland dysfunction (meibomian gland produces lipid layer of the tear film), low blink rate, medications, eye allergies, contact lens wear, vitamin A deficiency

Tear film

The tear film protects the ocular surface as well as provides nutrition, dilutes toxins or inflammatory mediators and washes away debris.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

 All the patients present with non specific symptoms like

  • Watering
  • Mucoid discharge
  • Burning sensation,
  • Stringing sensation
  • Blurred vision.

Who are at risk ?

The higher the age the more you are at risk of getting affected by eye diseases such as dry


• Women nearing menopause.

• Unhealthy food habits.

•  if you have undergone refractive surgery.

• contact lens wearers

• Those with increased screen time.

How to treat dry eye?

Management of dry eye is mainly symptomatic. It consists of:

  • Making environmental and lifestyle changes- avoiding dry dusty areas, improving blinking, taking frequent breaks between work, having healthy food, getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly.
  • Improving eyelid hygiene- warm compresses and lid massage are helpful.
  • Medical- tear supplements are the mainstay of treatment in mild cases. Sometimes anti-inflammatory therapy may be required.
  • Surgical- punctal occlusion is done in moderate to severe dry eyes not improving with artificial tears.