The surface of the eye needs to be moist all of the time. The film of liquid over the eye is called the tear film.
If tear film production decreases, the ocular surface can dry out. This is dry eye.
Dry eye is common in women after menopause.
Dry eye also happens in younger patients with autoimmune diseases, as well as people with diabetes.
Dry eye can be treated with lubricating drops in many cases. In severe dry eye, lubricating eye drops can be made from a patient’s own blood. These are called autologous serum tears, and are a life-saver for many patients.
In some cases, the drain where tears drain run down from the eye to the nose, can be plugged or closed. This is called punctal occlusion.
Some medications can cause dry eye. These include antihistamines, some antidepressants, and some blood pressure medications. Some anti-cancer drugs can do this also.