Persistent dryness of the eye due to insufficient production of tears, also known as dry eye
- Increasingly common over the age of 35
- More common in females
- Genetics and lifestyle are not significant factors
Insufficient tear production, known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye, results from damage to the lacrimal (tear) glands. The condition causes eye irritation and often leads to eye infections (see Conjunctivitis). In severe cases, corneal ulcers may develop. Dry eye affects more women than men and is more common over the age of 35. The condition may be linked to autoimmune disorders, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, in which the body attacks its own tissues.
Your doctor will prescribe artificial tears to restore moisture to the eye. The tears may need to be used many times a day. The doctor may also investigate and treat an underlying cause. Sometimes, surgery may be performed to plug the channel through which the tears normally drain.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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