What Is Dry Eye? Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment [ 2023 Guide]

Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. This can happen for a variety of reasons. 

Here’s an extensive look into what dry eye is, its symptoms, causes, and available treatments:

Understanding Dry Eye:

A dry eye can make your eyes feel uncomfortable. If you have dry eyes, your eyes may sting or burn. You might experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as on an airplane, in an air-conditioned room, or after looking at a computer screen for a few hours. If you are suffering from Dry Eye problems visit the Best Eye Hospital in Hyderabad and get rid of that problem. 

1. Symptoms of Dry Eye:

  • Eye Discomfort and Irritation: A stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in the eyes.
  • Stringy Mucus: Presence of stringy mucus in or around the eyes.
  • Sensitivity to Light: Increased sensitivity to light.
  • Red Eyes: Redness of the eyes.
  • Blurred Vision: Difficulty with nighttime driving or fluctuating vision clarity.
  • Watery Eyes: An overproduction of tears, which is a response to the irritation of dry eyes.
  • Eye Fatigue: A feeling of tired eyes or heavy eyelids.

2. Causes of Dry Eye:

Dry eyes can develop when the quantity and/or quality of tears fails to keep the surface of the eyes adequately lubricated. Key causes include:

  • Aging: Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process, especially during menopause.
  • Medications: Certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, and some blood pressure medicines, can reduce tear production.
  • Medical Conditions: Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems are linked to dry eye.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation.
  • Prolonged Screen Use: Long periods of screen use can reduce the frequency of blinking, contributing to dry eyes.
  • Contact Lens Wear: Prolonged use of contact lenses can cause or exacerbate dry eyes.

3. Diagnosis of Dry Eye:

A comprehensive eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist can diagnose dry eye syndrome. The examination may include:

  • Patient History: Understanding symptoms, general health problems, medications, and environmental factors that may contribute to dry eyes.
  • External Eye Examination: Examining the eyelids and the surface condition of the eyes.
  • Tests for Tear Production: Schirmer’s test to measure tear production and tear tests to evaluate tear evaporation rates and composition.

4. Treatment of Dry Eye:

The treatment of dry eye syndrome aims at restoring or maintaining the normal amount of tears in the eye, thereby minimizing dryness and related discomfort and maintaining eye health.

  • Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter artificial tear solutions can be used to manage mild cases of dry eyes.
  • Prescription Medications: These include drugs that reduce eyelid inflammation, stimulate tear production, or antibiotics to reduce corneal inflammation.
  • Punctal Plugs: In some cases, tiny silicone plugs may be inserted into the tear ducts to prevent tear drainage.
  • Special Contact Lenses: Certain contact lens types, like scleral lenses or bandage lenses, may be recommended.
  • Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Simple changes can make a difference, like blinking regularly when reading or looking at a screen, increasing humidity at home, and wearing sunglasses outdoors.
  • Nutrition and Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acid supplements and a diet high in oily fish can relieve dry eye symptoms.

5. Preventive Measures:

Preventing dry eye involves lifestyle adjustments such as taking breaks during long tasks that require visual concentration, avoiding air blowing directly into the eyes, using a humidifier in dry indoor environments, and avoiding smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

6. Complications of Dry Eye:

Untreated dry eyes can lead to complications such as increased risk of eye infections, damage to the surface of the eyes (like corneal abrasion or ulcer), and decreased quality of life due to discomfort and vision problems.


Dry eye is a common condition that can significantly affect quality of life and eye health. Understanding its symptoms, causes, and available treatments is essential for those affected. If you experience signs of dry eye, it is advisable to seek professional medical advice to obtain an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. By managing dry eyes effectively, individuals can maintain both the comfort and health of their eyes.

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