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Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Category
    Miscellaneous
  • Published
    28th Mar, 2019
  • For the first time, a large-scale, hospital-based study in India involving over 14.5 lakh patients had found the incidence (number of new cases occurring each year) of dry eye disease to be 21,000 (1.46%).
  • With a large ageing population, growing middle-class and chronic nature of the disease, India is on the verge of a dry eye disease epidemic.

Context

  • For the first time, a large-scale, hospital-based study in India involving over 14.5 lakh patients had found the incidence (number of new cases occurring each year) of dry eye disease to be 21,000 (1.46%).
  • With a large ageing population, growing middle-class and chronic nature of the disease, India is on the verge of a dry eye disease epidemic.

About

Dry Eye Syndrome

  • It is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye.
  • Consequences of dry eyes range from subtle but constant eye irritation to significant inflammation and even scarring of the front surface of the eye.
  • The disease tends to be progressive with age.
  • The onset of dry eye disease is early in men than in women. In men, the age of disease onset is early 20s and 30s compared with 50s and 60s in women.
  • Hormonal imbalance could be a likely reason for higher cases in women in their 50s and 60s
  • Once corneal damage becomes irreversible it can lead to visual impairment and even blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment is therefore important.
  • The disease is hugely underdiagnosed in India.

Causes:

  • Age, urban residence, occupation and socio-economic affluence were taken as high risk-factors for developing the disease.
  • It could occur due to inadequate tear production (aqueous deficient), tear film instability due to evaporation or mixed type.
  • Over 20.5% had dry eye disease caused by inadequate tear production, 35.5% due to tear film instability (evaporative) and 40% being mixed.

Factors Associated With Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Computer use: When working at a computer or using a smartphone or other portable digital device, one tends to blink eyes less fully and less frequently, which leads to greater tear evaporation and increased risk of dry eye symptoms. At over 12,500 cases, the incidence in urban areas was higher than in rural areas (over 8,700 cases).
  • Indoor environment: Air conditioning, ceiling fans and forced air heating systems all can decrease indoor humidity and/or hasten tear evaporation, causing dry eye symptoms.
  • Outdoor environment: Arid climates and dry or windy conditions increase dry eye risks.
  • Aging: Dry eye syndrome can occur at any age, but it becomes increasingly more common later in life, especially after age 50.
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