According to the National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institute of Health (NIH), dry eye is a condition in which the eye produces fewer or lower quality tears and is unable to keep its surface lubricated. Inflammation of the surface of the eye may also occur.
People experience dry eyes in different ways. Common symptoms include a gritty feeling in the eye, eye pain, tearing, blurred vision, double vision, and a feeling of tiredness in the eyes. In many patients, these symptoms are most noticeable after extended time reading or using a computer.
There are two main types of dry eye:
1. Aqueous tear deficit dry eye is a disorder in which the eyes do not produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy surface.
2. Evaporative dry eye occurs when the eye’s tears evaporate too quickly. The most common reason for evaporative dry eye is inflammation of oil glands in the eyelids, a condition known as Meibomian Gland Disease (MGD). These meibomian glands make the lipid or oily part of the tears that slow evaporation and keeps tears stable. The glands can become clogged and lead to an unstable tear film.
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