Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a medical condition which occurs when your eyes fail to produce adequate quality tears. This results in the eyes being dry, also called dry eye syndrome. Tears play a vital role in maintaining clear vision and in the general health of the eye surface.
Role of Tears in Your Eyes
According to the American Optometric Association, tears act as an eye lubricant, eliminate foreign particles from the eyes, and uphold a clear vision. Tears bathing the outer surface of the eye (cornea) act as a deterrent to eye infections. Victims of dry eyes either produce an insufficient volume of tears or poor-quality tears. Poor-quality tears don’t fully constitute the three tear component: water, mucus, and oil.
Causes of Dry Eyes
Several factors have been reported to contribute towards the production of either inadequate volume of tears or poor-quality tears. Some of which include:
- Age: senior citizens are more prone to dry eyes
- Gender: dry eyes tend to affect the female gender more due to the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy and menopause.
- Certain medication such as decongestants and antidepressants
- Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and eyelid inflammation
- Environmental factors that promote rapid tear evaporation, such as dry and windy climate
- Prolonged use of contact lenses
Management of Dry Eyes
Restoration of sufficient and quality tear is the ultimate goal of treating dry eyes, consequently alleviating the discomfort associated with it. Consult your optometrist over the available treatment options for dry eyes at eye clinics. Besides medical treatment, self-treatment such as regular blinking, increasing the moisture content of surrounding air, consuming a diet rich in omega 3 and 7 fats, and constant rehydrating will minimize the discomfort of dry eyes.
The inability of your eyes to produce an adequate volume of quality tears results in a medical condition termed as dry eyes. Caused by a number of factors, dry eyes can be successfully managed by medical and self-eye care interventions.