Dry eyes disease is a common condition that occurs when the tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes, it’s usually bilateral. The tear film has three layers: fatty oils, aqueous fluid and mucus. This combination normally keeps the surface of your eyes lubricated, smooth and clear, problems with any of these layers can cause dry eyes. The tear instability leads to inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface.


There are two types of dry eye:

  1. Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye: Low tear quantity
  2. Evaporative dry eye: Low tear quality


Dry eyes feel uncomfortable, it may present with the following:


Dry eyes are caused by a variety of reasons that disrupt the healthy tear film, major reasons include:

  1. Decreased Tear Production: This condition is keratoconjunctivitis sicca, common
    causes of decreased tear production are;

2. Production of Poor-quality Tears: This condition causes increased evaporation of tears, common causes of increased tear evaporation include:

One may experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as:


Acute dry eye caused by environmental factors, health problems, or medication may go away or improve once you identify the cause of dryness and make the necessary adjustments — such as treating an underlying health problem, switching medicines, lifestyle changes or adjusting the environment.
Unfortunately, severe cases of the dry eye can’t be fully cured; one may need to take some measures
indefinitely to control the symptoms of dry eyes.


Factors that make it more likely for one to experience dry eyes include:

  1. Anyone at any age can have dry eyes but it’s majorly seen in elderly patients. Being older than 50 is a risk factor as tear production tends to diminish as one gets older, dry eyes are more common in people over 50.
  2. Being a woman, lack of tears is more common in women due to lack of testosterone in the oil glands most especially for post-menopausal women and hormonal changes due to pregnancy or using birth control pills.
  3. Eating diet that is low in vitamin A, which is found in liver, carrots and broccoli, or low in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, walnuts and vegetable oils.
  4. Wearing contact lenses or having a history of refractive surgery.


People who have dry eyes may experience these complications:

  1. Eye infections
  2. Inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal ulcers which may lead to vision loss.
  3. Decreased quality of life: Dry eyes can make it difficult to perform everyday activities as the symptoms are quite discomforting.


  1. The use of Artificial tear drops, medications that can boost tear production and reduce tear evaporation (testosterone gel).
  2. Temporary punctal occlusion, Non-dissolving punctal plugs (If temporary plugs work well moving to longer-lasting may be considered), Punctal occlusion by cautery (application of heat to tear exit duct): These measures increase tear level by blocking the “drainpipe” through which tears usually go from the eyes to the nose.

Image credit: Punctal occlusion

3. LipiFlow: This involves the use of heat and pressure to unclog blocked glands on the eyelids.

Image credit: LipiFlow

4. Applying a warm wet washcloth to the eyelids for 30 seconds up to 4 minutes. This can be done twice a day and once a day when symptoms are gone in order  to keep the problem from coming back

5. Eye Massage: This can help push the inflamed melted oil out of the glands, here’s how it’s done:

6. Adding moisture to indoor air especially during winter by using a humidifier, this helps the eyes not to dry out as quickly.

7. Reduce screen time (Computer, smartphone, or tablet) because one tends to blink less when the eyes are fixed onto a screen it’s advised on adhering to the 20/20/20 rule. Take a 20-second break from your digital device every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.

8. Adequate follow up with contact lenses use in terms of lens type or duration of use.

9. Recommend UV Protection Shadeswhich protects less evaporation of tears due to sun and screen rays.


Article by Dr Nneoma Console Ukoh

Cover Photo by Danish Ahmad from Pexels



  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/dry-eyes/guide/
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  7. https://login.medscape.com/login/sso/getlogin?urlCache=aHR0cDovL3JlZmVyZW5jZS5 tZWRzY2FwZS5jb20vc2xpZGVzaG93L29jdWxhci10cmF1bWEtNjAwODExNg%3D% 3D&ac=401#

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