Dry Eye Syndrome

Topic Overview

Dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) occurs when the tear glands do not produce enough tears, causing your eyes to feel itchy, scratchy, and irritated. It is more common in older adults and in those with autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis.

Wearing glasses or contact lenses and smoking cigarettes may increase your risk for dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes also may be caused by certain medications, such as diuretics, antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants.

Try a nonprescription artificial tears solution, such as Akwa Tears, Duratears, or HypoTears. Do not use eyedrops that reduce redness (such as Visine) to treat dry eyes.

If artificial tears do not help, call a health professional. Excessive dryness can damage your eyes.

Related Information

Credits

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky - Ophthalmology
Last Updated December 6, 2009

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