What is Dry Eye Syndrome: Symptoms and Causes

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

According to NHS England, dry eye syndrome is the name for any condition “when the complex tear production process is disrupted in some way”. This means that the constant film of tear-liquid which is meant to cover the surface of the eyeball isn’t present.

Dry Eye Syndrome Causes

What causes dry eye syndrome cannot be narrowed down into one single thing. There are multiple different factors which might cause the disruption of the tear production process. These might occur together or separately. It must be said that any of these might not necessarily mean that you will get dry eye syndrome, but can cause it.

Having MGD is one of the main causes of dry eye syndrome. It is linked to age, and therefore as you get older your chance of developing it increases, as well as certain hormonal changes which increase the chance of women getting it. Environmental factors can also increase the chance of you developing it, such as exposure to the sun, dry air, and a dry climate. Your job might also leave you at increased risk of getting it. Activities which require visual concentration, like looking at a computer screen or reading, can contribute to developing it too. Therefore you are at increased risk if you have a job which requires you to do this for extended periods of time. Finally, having Blepharitis can also make you more likely to also get dry eye syndrome.

Dry Eye Syndrome Symptoms

The symptoms can vary in intensity amongst people. They affect most people quite mildly, but can be quite severe for a minority of sufferers and may cause other complications.

  • One is a feeling of your eyes being dry or sore which may increase as times go on. It might also be that your eye feels gritty, or you have a burning sensation in it.
  • Another symptom is red eye, though this might be due to any number of eye conditions such as conjunctivitis and not necessarily dry eye syndrome.
  • Your eyelids might stick together when you wake up, and hence it might be hard to open your eyes initially due to this. This is because the condition can cause you to secrete mucus in the eye. It might also lead to vision which is blurry or temporarily blurred. This can normally be cleared however by blinking.
  • Occasionally, people can have episodes of severely watering eyes, which might clear quickly or last for minutes. This is however more occasional than the other symptoms.