Dry Eye Syndrome (Dry Eyes, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is the impact of dry eye syndrome?

More than three million American women over the age of 50 have moderate to severe dry eyes, while more than 1.5 million American men over the age of 50 are similarly afflicted. This health condition is fairly benign and easily treated with artificial tears, however.

Many wearers of contact lenses experience dry eyes at some point with many discontinuing or limiting lens wear. Dry eye is a significant finding in patients having undergone refractive surgery, especially LASIK.

In addition to affecting ocular health, the discomfort and irritation of dry eyes can cause deterioration of general well-being, emotional health, and social functioning. Studies have demonstrated that people with dry eye syndrome are three times more likely than those without dry eyes to have difficulty with reading, computer work, watching TV, and driving. Our health care resources are impacted by direct costs of dry eyes, such as frequent physician visits, diagnostic tests, and charges for medication and surgery. In addition, there are immeasurable indirect costs related to decreased productivity and efficiency and lost work time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2017
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