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Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye disease, also called dysfunctional tear syndrome, is an extremely common condition that is often under diagnosed and affects 5-30% of the population ages 50 and over.1 Inflammation and tear osmolarity are the underlying mechanisms that cause dry eye. When tears are not able to produce adequate moisture, the ocular surface becomes inflamed.

Quality of life and daily activities can be greatly impacted by dry eye symptoms, creating a significant psychological impact. Patients have reported a willingness to trade years at the end of their lives to be free of dry eye disease.2

Identifying patients with dry eye and related ocular surface diseases, provides the ability to categorize these patients for better dry eye or perioperative management, which leads to many clinical advantages, such as better outcomes, reduced complications, and better patient care.

Symptoms

  • Dryness
  • Burning
  • Light sensitivity
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Ocular pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Visual fatigue
  • Discomfort

Risk Factors

The prevalence of dry eye increases with age and is far more common in women. Other risk factors include the use of certain medications, autoimmune inflammatory diseases, contact lens wear, LASIK and refractive surgery, and menopause.

Treatment

Dry eye disease may require an extensive treatment plan and continuous therapy. Various dry eye disease treatment plans are available, based on the discretion of a medical professional. Treatments typically include a combination of artificial tears, anti-inflammatory therapies, and punctual occlusion.

Treatment Options:

  • Over-the-counter artificial tears, gels, and ointments
  • Topical anti-inflammatory therapy, such as cyclosporine, corticosteroids, and azythromycin
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications, such as doxycycline
  • Oral omega-3 supplements
  • Punctal plugs

References

1 Marsh P, Pflugfelder SC. Topical nonpreserved methylprednisolone therapy for keratoconjunctivitis sicca in Sjögren syndrome. Ophthalmology. 1999 Apr;106(4):811-6.

2 Schiffman RM, Walt JG, Jacobsen G, et al. Utility assessment among patients with dry eye disease. Ophthalmology. 2003 Jul;110(7):1412-9.