Dry eyes refer to the condition of the eye where, the eyes are not moist as the tear film that coats the eye, is not produced adequately or the balance between production and drainage is not maintained. It can result from a number of conditions such as allergy, prolonged use of computer system, certain medications etc. Decreased tear production can result from disease such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders, following Laser eye surgery, tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation. Increased tear evaporation can result from smoking, eyelid problems such as ectropion and entropion.
The patient will have symptoms of burning, irritation, excess watering (as a reflex) sensitivity to light, redness and fatigue in eyes etc.
Treatment includes artificial tears in the form of drops, gel. The underlying causative factor is also treated. If there is blockage in the drainage system, it should be addressed. Preventive measures include wearing protective eye wear, adequate break during prolonged task especially with computer and avoiding smoking.