Focus on Dry Eye Disease
Dry Eye Disease impacts Visual Function
Dry Eye Disease is a very common and multifactorial disease of the tears and the ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbances, and tear film instability with potential damage of the ocular surface. Chronic dry eye can be accompanied by inflammation of the ocular surface, with major impacts:
- On reading
- On quality of life (irritation, disturbance, lesser activities,..)
- On mental stage, i.e. high likelihood to lead to depression
- Severe consequences for eyesight on long-term
DED is one of the most frequent ocular morbidities and affects a significant percentage of the population, especially those over 40 years of age.
DED is more common in women than in men and can affect any ethnicity. The estimated number of people affected ranges from 25-30 million in the United States alone. Worldwide, the incidence rate closely parallels that of the United States, resulting in more than 300 million patients affected.
To understand DED, the underlaying causes and effects on the different physiological layers have to be considered:
- Meibomian gland dysfunction due to abnormal lipid secretion or obstruction
- Tear film instability due to altered lipid layer
- Tear film instability due to altered tear volume and composition
- Mucin dysfunction due to damage
- Epithelium dysfunction due to inflammation
- Nerve dysfunction due to degeneration