Dry eye is a condition where there are not enough tears to lubricate the eye. Tears lubricate, nourish, and wash the eye, all of which are essential for maintaining eye health and clear vision.
Without the beneficial moisture and cleansing components provided by sufficient tears, patients with untreated dry eye are at risk for developing serious complications such as infection, inflammation, pain, ulcers, and decrease of vision.
A comprehensive eye exam can help diagnose dry eye syndrome. During the exam, a patient history along with examination of the eye and eyelids will help identify if a patient has dry eyes.
Treatment methods can vary from eye drops to outpatient surgery. It is essential to detect if an underlying condition, medication, or contact lenses are causing the dryness. If medications are the fundamental cause, it may be suggested to switch to an alternative medication. If contact lenses are causing irritation or dryness, a different contact lens (perhaps with better moisture) may be recommended. If a condition is the motivating factor, the condition will need to be treated first.
The primary objective of treating dry eye is to bring back and maintain regular tear production, along with eliminating any or all symptoms.