The nitty-gritty of dry eye disease

The nitty-gritty of dry eye disease: Dry eye is a tear dysfunction syndrome caused by increased tear evaporation (Evaporative Dry Eye) and diminished tear production (Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye). According to the International Dry Eye Workshop (2007), “Dry Eye is a multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface. It is accompanied by increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface.” Dry eye disease is a common condition affecting people of all ages. Interestingly, it is one of the most underdiagnosed ocular conditions. Diagnosis and Management of Dry Eye have evolved over the years. It is therefore imperative that Doctors of Optometry who are saddled with the responsibility of managing dry eye patients be updated on the recent trends and innovations in Dry Eye Diagnosis and Management. We need to be armed with the knowledge of the risk factors of dry eye disease. This is because it is a subtle condition that can easily slip off our fingers. Therefore, the need to play the role of a “detective” cannot be overemphasized. This comes into play in the place of taking patients’ history to ascertain patients’ symptoms, also taking cognisance of general health problems, medications, lifestyle and environmental conditions that may predispose patients to dry eye. Dry eye is a prevalent condition which affects quality of life, often missed by a handful of optometrists. We need to better understand the diagnosis and management of this condition to improve patient care.

Author(s): Iloba Victor Somto                                                                                                                                                              

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