Dry Eye Disease is a condition in which the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too rapidly. If left untreated, this condition can lead to inflammation and pain, ulcers, scarring of the cornea, and some loss of vision.
Dry Eye disease can affect the quality of life of the sufferer; dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some everyday activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can also reduce tolerance to dry environments, such as an airplane cabin. There are many factors involved in DED, which is a chronic and progressive disease that produces a range of symptoms and can potentially lead to damaging the eyes.
DED does not present a specific set of symptoms and can affect different people with different symptoms and different levels of severity, but there may be no symptoms present in the early stages of the disease.
The precise causes of dry eye are difficult to identify and can include a wide range of possible contributing factors including hormonal changes, ageing, environmental factors (hot dry climate, or lots of reading, computer work when people tend to blink less), certain medications, laser eye surgery, contact lenses, and medical conditions, from allergic conjunctivitis to rheumatoid arthritis.
Dry Eye Disease is a chronic condition and so treatment aims to control the disease – there is no cure but treatment can help patients enjoy a better quality of life.