Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

(Keratitis Sicca; Dry Eye Syndrome)

Definition

Keratoconjunctivitis is a condition in which the membranes on the surface of the eye known as the conjunctiva become red and inflamed. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca occurs when the surface of the eye becomes dry due to reduced tearing or poor quality tears.
Inflamed Conjunctiva
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Causes

There are 2 main reasons that keratoconjunctivitis sicca occurs:
  • The eye no longer makes enough tears to keep the surface moist and the eye dries out.
  • The eye does make enough tears, but they are of poor quality and are unable to adequately coat the surface of the eye. They evaporate too quickly because there is not enough oil content.

Risk Factors

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is more common in females. Other factors that may increase your chance of keratoconjunctivitis sicca:
  • Increased age—The normal production of tears decreases with age.
  • Some chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis,systemic lupus erythematosus, or Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Certain medications, such as:
    • Diuretics
    • Beta-blockers
    • Antihistamines
  • Laser vision correction surgery, such as LASIK
  • Though rare in the US and most developed countries, a deficiency in vitamin A may contribute to the development of keratoconjunctivitis sicca and other serious eye problems.

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