Medical & Surgical Ophthalmology

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye disease (DED) is a disease that manifests itself when there is a low volume of tears, or when its composition is of poor quality. As a consequence of this lack of lubrication, a series of annoying symptoms occur. They can also be accompanied in the long run by injuries to the cornea and conjunctiva, and visual problems.

It is a very prevalent disease, which affects millions of people in the world, but the symptoms only manifest in 30% of those affected.

Why is it produced?

The primary cause of Dry Eye Syndrome is unknown but certain risk factors have been shown to lead to dry eye. Among them are the aging of the lacrimal glands due to advanced age and hormonal changes in women (postmenopause, contraceptives or pregnancy). On the other hand, DED can also be secondary to environmental conditions in which the air is very dry, viral infections, use of certain drugs. The use of contact lenses, or secondary to systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus could be other causes.

Dry Eye Treatments

In most cases the initial treatment is artificial tear substitutes. In more severe cases of advanced epithelial defects, autologous serum is usually prescribed. Autologous serum is a topical treatment prepared from the patients own blood, it has growth factors and helps to recover the epithelial corneal cells. Other drugs such as cholinergic (which stimulate tear production), or anti-inflammatories are also useful for resistant cases.

Among the invasive options, the lacrimal puncta (where the tears drain) can be occluded temporaly in order to increase eye moisture.


It is recommended to carry out specific ophthalmological controls to detect the disease early and avoid the complications that derive from it, such as keratitis, vision loss or corneal ulcers. In addition, there are preventive measures to avoid dry eyes. Placing air humidifiers next to heaters and air conditioners could cause dry eyes. There could also be other causes to use ointments ophthalmic lubricants before going to bed, avoid contaminated areas or areas with excessive smoke or dust, etc.

Active clinical trials

Dry eye

Duration: 6 weeks
Treatment: drops

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