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- Dry eye syndrome facts
- What is dry eye syndrome?
- What causes dry eye syndrome?
- What is the impact of dry eye syndrome?
- What are dry eye syndrome symptoms and signs?
- What are the complications of dry eye syndrome?
- What are the risk factors for dry eye syndrome?
- Can self-care treatments and remedies help alleviate dry eyes?
- What is the medical treatment for dry eye syndrome?
- What medications are used to treat dry eye syndrome?
- Can surgery treat dry eye syndrome?
- What other therapies are used to treat dry eye syndrome?
What are the complications of dry eye syndrome?
Most people with dry eye syndrome have nothing to worry about aside from an annoying inconvenience. Although the symptoms might make activities of daily living (e.g., reading, watching TV, driving) miserable, no long-term vision loss is to be expected.
For those with more severe dry eye syndrome, significant drying of the surface of the eye can lead to an increased risk of serious infections. Ultimately, scarring, thinning, and even perforation of the cornea may occur. As a result, vision, or even the eye itself, may be permanently lost.
What are the risk factors for dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is more common with increasing age, female sex, and Asian ethnicity. Menopause can increase the risk of dry eye syndrome. Paradoxically, postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy, especially estrogens alone, have a higher prevalence of dry eyes than postmenopausal women taking no hormones.
Occupational and environmental factors increasing risk include low humidity, high room temperature, wind exposure, pollution and poor air quality, smoking, and decreased blink rates due to sustained computer use or reading.
Diseases associated with dry eyes include vitamin A deficiency, autoimmune/connective tissue disease, hepatitis C infection, HIV infection, Sjögren's syndrome, sarcoidosis, diabetes mellitus, and androgen or estrogen deficiency.
Contact lens wear increases the risk of dry eye syndrome. Refractive surgery, especially LASIK, frequently causes dry eyes.
Various medications including systemic chemotherapy, diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines and beta-adrenergic blockers may cause dry eyes as a side effect of the medication.
Irregularities of the conjunctival surface as seen with pingueculae or pterygia, can cause dry eye symptoms.