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Dry Eye

 

Dry Eye

Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), chronic dry eye is among the most common complaints heard by optometrists, yet many people don't recognize they could have the disease and/or understand its severity.

Chronic dry eye can be caused by a functional problem in the tear-producing glands of the eyes. This reduces tear production, resulting in an insufficient amount of tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Symptoms such as uncomfortable dryness, itchiness and blurred vision may make daily tasks like reading, watching TV and driving difficult.

Does Dry Eye Affect Women More Than Men?

Although chronic dry eye occurs in both men and women, it affects women two to three times more often and is most common in post-menopausal women because of the hormonal changes associated with aging. Although it is more commonly thought of as "the libido hormone," testosterone plays a critical role in maintaining the tear-making lacrimal gland. As women grow older, their production of testosterone declines, leaving the ocular surface susceptible to inflammation. Once the lacrimal gland is inflamed, it may reduce tear production.

Anyone who suspects they may have chronic dry eye should visit an eye doctor, who can make a diagnosis and determine the proper treatment regimen. While there are eye drops that provide temporary symptomatic relief, there are also prescription therapies available to address this condition. A doctor can determine the best therapy for each individual patient.