The underlying features of the disease causes ocular surface inflammation, damage and changes to the way the nerves function. Early instances of mild dry eye disease can develop into a chronic condition that can cause significant pain, impact daily visual function, reduced vitality, poor general health and in some instances, depression. Early intervention is important in avoiding more severe disease.
Risk factors for developing dry eye are many; increasing age, female gender, Asian race, connective tissue disease, auto-immune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome are consistently related. Environmental conditions such as pollution and low humidity can also contribute to disease severity as do lifestyle factors such as continuous screen time. Certain health conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disease, as well as medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants can also contribute to the underlying disease process.