What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a common and progressive condition that affects millions of Americans. Irritation caused by dry eye makes it more difficult for you to complete daily tasks, such as computer work and driving, and affects activities you love such as reading, hiking, or even binge watching your favorite show.

Each time you blink, tears are spread across your cornea, the outermost surface of the eye, in order to keep eyes lubricated and flush out eye irritants.1 These tears play a crucial role in keeping your eyes healthy and hydrated.

Dry eye symptoms may develop when tear glands do not produce enough tears, you produce poor quality tears, or tears evaporate too quickly.1,2,3  These conditions are more common in individuals over the age of 50, but can occur at any age.2 In addition, the discomfort of dry eye, the burning, stinging, grittiness, and blurred vision, can be worsened by environmental conditions such as low humidity, air-conditioned workplaces, winter heating, a dusty or windy outdoor environment, or prolonged computer use4.

  1. American Optometric Association. http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye?sso=y Accessed April 16, 2017.
  2. National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/health/dryeye/dryeye Accessed April 16, 2017.
  3. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/basics/definition/con-20024129 Accessed April 16, 2017.
  4. The International Dry-Eye Workshop (DEWS Report). The Definition and Classification of Dry Eye Disease: Report of the Definition and Classification Subcommittee of the International Dry Eye Workshop. Ocul Surf. 2007; 5:75-92.