What is Dry Eye Disease (DED)?
Dry Eye Disease is a condition in which the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. If left untreated, this condition can lead to inflammation and pain, ulcers, scarring of the cornea, and some loss of vision.
DED can affect the quality of life of the sufferer; dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some everyday activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can also reduce tolerance to dry environments, such as an airplane cabin.
There are many factors involved in DED, which is a chronic and progressive disease that produces a range of symptoms and can potentially lead to damaging the eyes.
What are the symptoms of DED?
DED does not present a specific set of symptoms and can affect different people with different symptoms and different levels of severity, but there may be no symptoms present in the early stages of the disease.
Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:
- Stinging or burning of the eye
- A sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye
- Episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods
- A stringy discharge from the eye
- Pain and redness of the eye
- Episodes of blurred vision
- Heavy eyelids
- Inability to cry when emotionally stressed
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer; or any activity that requires sustained visual attention
- Eye fatigue
Who is at risk of DED?
Dry Eye Disease is common among the following groups of people:
- Women (during and after menopause)
- Contact lens wearers
- Patients after certain eye procedures, including laser and cataract surgeries
- Patients diagnosed with autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematous systemic, thyroidopathies, among others)
- Patients with other ocular diagnosis (glaucoma, allergy, uveitis, herpes and other infections, blepharitis)
- Diabetic patients
- Patients with dermatological diseases, mainly rosacea.
- Patients on oral treatment for depression, anxiety, hypertension
- People who work many hours in front of a computer screen or read for long periods
- Specific nutrition deficiencies due to dietary restrictions
- People who have long or constant exposure to dust or air conditioning
How common is DED?
According to medical research, around 40% of adults worldwide have dry eyes. However, there is evidence that suggests some people with dry eye are not even aware of their condition. For people who suffer from DED, the impact on the quality of life can be severe and it can restrict their routine daily activities as well as working lives.
How is DED diagnosed?
The key to diagnosis is understanding the risk factors and obtaining an accurate, detailed patient history, supported by an examination with a slit lamp to look for signs of DED.
Causes and stages of DED
The treatment options for DED vary according to the severity of the stage of the disease and the cause of the dry eye. Our ophthalmologists will be able to stage and confirm the cause of your DED during the consultation and examination, and then prescribe the appropriate treatment.
DED is a chronic condition and so treatment aims to control the disease – there is no cure but treatment can help patients enjoy a better quality of life.
- Eye drops
- Oral medication treatment
- Good eye hygiene
- Dietary supplements
- Minor surgical procedures
- Tear duct plugs
- Intense Pulsed Light Sessions
Advanced care in the UAE
To provide world-leading treatment of dry eye, Moorfields has invested in the latest high-tech TearLab diagnostic and E-Eye machines, which are only available in the UAE at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai.
Based on pulsed light technology, each session of E-Eye treatment lasts only a few minutes; it is proven to be a very safe procedure with a very high rate of success.