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Dry eye

Dry eye, also called “keratoconjunctivitis sicca”, is a very common and widespread syndrome. Though it might appear simple at first glance, it can have a significant effect on a person’s visual comfort. Dry eye can have many causes, the most common being:

  • a dry, ventilated environment;
  • a reduced blink rate (computer work, reading);
  • reduced tear production;
  • poor-quality tears.

Reduced tear production can be caused by aging, hormonal changes, medication, refractive surgery (LASIK), and chronic inflammatory diseases (e.g., Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis). Most often, poor-quality tears derive from a dysfunction of the Meibomius glands in the presence of blepharitis (eyelid inflammation), as the opening of these glands is located on the edge of the eyelids. The glands secrete meibum, oil that protects tears from evaporation. If the secretion of meibum is altered, the constitution of the tears is compromised.

The treatment for dry eye usually starts with the instillation of artificial tears four times a day. However, it is also important to treat the blepharitis. This consists of applying warm compresses to and massaging the eyelids. This therapy is explained in greater detail under “Blepharitis”. If the burning sensation, the irritation, the sandy feeling and other symptoms persist after the treatment, medicated eye drops can be prescribed. The type of artificial tear prescribed and frequency of application can vary from person to person.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Dr. Susie Mainville, optometrist

Dr. Susie Mainville, optometrist

Dr. Susie Mainville, optometrist (O.D.), obtained her doctorate in optometry from the Université de Montréal in 2008 and completed her residency in ocular health at the Institut de l’oeil des Laurentides (IOL) in 2011.

See biography

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