A dry eye is an eye without enough tears. Confusingly, the eye can often feel watery rather than dry, and also have a sensation of burning or grittiness. This deficiency gives rise to chronic irritation, which can cause damage to the cornea and in severe cases corneal scarring.
There may be episodes of excessive tearing or wateriness, mucous discharge or blurred vision.
This condition can arise from a number of things, for example:
- Lack of tear production/poor tear quality
- Natural ageing process
- Sun, wind, smoke, air-conditioning
- Rheumatoid arthritis, menopause, other systemic conditions
- Medications that you are taking
Once general disease is excluded as a cause, the most common form of treatment for dry eyes is artificial tears, solutions and ointments.