Dry eye is a disorder of inadequate tear film. It is due to reduced tear production by the lacrimal gland and/or excessive evaporation from the eye surface.
What causes dry eye?
Dry eye is a very common phenomenon and is also dependent on the surrounding environment. It is more common in women especially after menopause.
What are the symptoms?
Patients notice discomfort, irritation, photophobia, redness and blurring of the vision. In very severe cases the eye surface can become permanently scarred. Symptoms are worse in dry, windy conditions as well as indoors such as prolonged computer work, air-conditioning and fluorescent lights.
What are the treatments available?
Initially lubricants in the form of drops, gels or ointments can be used. They can be taken as required or on a regular basis throughout the day. If lubrication is not adequate, then occlusion of the tear drainage can be undertaken with small plugs or cautery. More extreme dry eye management includes use of serum drops and/or cyclosporin ointment.