What is Dry Eye?

Check Dry Eye

You can check yourself for the likelihood of having dry eye on this page.
If you experience any symptoms for suspected dry eye, see an ophthalmologist at a nearby clinic.

  • 10-Second Check
  • 12-Symptoms Check

You can check if you are able to Keep your eyes open for 10 seconds.

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What is Dry Eye?

What Type of Disease is Dry Eye?

The disease of dry eye is characterized by injuries to the eye surface associated with an uneven supply of tears, which protect the eye, a lack of volume of tears, or a collapse of the qualitative balance of tears. Hence, dry eye may be viewed as a disease of tears. With the recent trends toward an aging general population and an increased use of air conditioners, computers, and smart phones, as well as an increase in the number of contact lens wearers, the number of dry eye patients has steadily increased.

Tears-The Key to the Protection of Our Eyes

By covering the eye surface, tears serve as a barrier which protects the eye.

While a wide variety of factors can cause dry eye, the use of computers, contact lenses, air conditioners, etc., in particular, is likely to increase tear evaporation and make tears unstable, which in turn can injure the cells on the eye surface.

In addition, blinking serves as a stimulant for promoting tear secretion to shed tears, and ensure an even distribution of tears over the eye surface.

Function of Tears
Normal Eye Surface Versus Dry Eye Surface

What Ocular Symptoms are Associated with Dry Eye?

Dry eye patients suffer from not only typical dry eye symptoms, such as dryness of eyes, but also many other symptoms.

Major Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry Eye Check Sheet

Feeling of Dryness of the Eyes

If you feel your eyes are dry while using a computer, playing a TV game, or doing detailed work, you may have a decreased frequency of blinking and a reduced volume of tears.

Eyes in such a dry state are likely to be damaged (injured) on the surface. If this state is left untreated, not only the eye surface, but also the cornea and conjunctiva may be adversely affected.

Severe dry eye is sometimes associated with Sjogren's syndrome, a disease relatively common among middle-aged women. Don't ignore the symptoms if you have any and consult an ophthalmologist.

Blurred Vision

Among dry eye patients, how objects are seen is sometimes affected in some forms such as blurred vision even with good visual acuity. This is because tears become unstable in the presence of a wide variety of factors; for example, the ‘C’ marking on the eye chart is perceived as being blurred as illustrated below.

Dry eye not only causes dryness of the eye and eye strain, but also affects how objects are seen.

Example of Visual Dysfunction Due to Dry Eye

Sandy Feeling in the Eye

In the case of dry eye, the volume of tears, which protect the eye, decreases, and the cornea and conjunctiva may be injured. This in turn can cause a sandy feeling in the eye and a sensation of having something in the eye. The likelihood of conjunctivitis and keratitis also increases.

Eye Strain

Cross section of an eye

Do you ever feel eye strain? This symptom may be a sign of dry eye.
The condition of dry eye is an ocular disease characterized by damage (injuries) to the eye surface due to a lack of tear volume, which protects the eye, or a collapse of the qualitative balance of tears. Don't immediately conclude that ‘My symptoms are not of concern because it is nothing more than eye strain that is not so severe.’ See an ophthalmologist if you often feel eye strain.