(Keratitis Sicca; Dry Eye Syndrome)
DefinitionKeratoconjunctivitis is a condition in which the membranes on the surface of the eye known as the conjunctiva become red and inflamed. The most common form of this condition is keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This occurs when the surface of the eye becomes dry due to a lack of quality tears.
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CausesThere 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 evaporate too quickly. The tears produced are of poor quality and are unable to coat the surface of the eye.
Risk FactorsKeratoconjunctivitis sicca is more common in females. Other factors that may increase your chance of keratoconjunctivitis sicca:
- Increased age—The normal production of tears decreases as we age, so it is common for older and elderly people to have some degree of dryness in their eyes.
- Some chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis,systemic lupus erythematosus , and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Certain medications, such as:
- 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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