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Dry Eye Syndrome
(Dry Eyes, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

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Dry eye syndrome facts

  • Dry eye syndrome is a very common condition that is characterized by a disturbance of the tear film. This abnormality may result in disruption of the ocular surface, causing a variety of symptoms and signs and interference with quality of life.
  • To help keep the eyes comfortable and vision optimal, a normal, thin film of tears coats the eyes. Three main layers make up this tear film.
  • The innermost layer is the thinnest. It is a layer of mucin (or mucus). This very thin layer of mucus is produced by the cells in the conjunctiva (the clear skin that lines the eye). The mucus helps the overlying watery layer to spread evenly over the eye.
  • The middle (or aqueous) layer is the largest and the thickest. This layer is essentially a very dilute saltwater solution. The lacrimal glands under the upper lids and the accessory tear glands produce this watery layer. The function of this layer is to keep the eye moist and comfortable, as well as to help flush out any dust, debris, or foreign objects that may get into the eye. Defects of the aqueous layer are the most common cause of dry eye syndrome, also referred to as dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS).
  • The most superficial layer is a very thin layer of lipids (fats or oils). These lipids are produced by the meibomian glands and the glands of Zeis (oil glands in the eyelids). The main function of this lipid layer is to help decrease evaporation of the watery layer beneath.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) -- also called dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) -- is a common disorder of the tear film that affects a significant percentage of the population, especially those older than 40 years of age. The estimated number of people affected ranges from 25-30 million in the U.S. Worldwide, the incidence rate closely parallels that of the U.S. Dry eye syndrome can affect any race, and is more common in women than in men. Another term used for dry eye is ocular surface disease.


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Dry Eyes - Cause Question: What was the cause of your dry eyes?
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Dry Eyes - Symptoms and Signs Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with your dry eyes?
Dry Eyes - Complications Question: Did you suffer any complications with your dry eye syndrome?
Dry Eyes - Other Therapies Question: Have you taped your eyes to avoid waking up with dry eyes? Please share other therapies you've tried.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/dry_eyes/article.htm

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