Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea. The conjunctiva is the tissue that covers the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. The cornea is the clear front layer of the eye.
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This problem happens when the eyes:
These problems may be caused by:
This problem is more common in women and older adults. The risk is also higher in people who have any of the causes listed above.
Problems from dry eyes are:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Most of the time the diagnosis is made by a doctor who treats eyes.
An eye exam will be done. Tests that may be done are:
Any underlying causes will need to be treated. In others, the goal is to keep the eyes moist and stop the problem from getting worse. Choices are:
People who are not helped by these methods may need surgery. A tiny plug may be placed in the tear ducts. This can help tears stay on the eyes longer.
There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.
American Optometric Association
Eye Health—American Academy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Dry eye disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dry-eye-disease. Accessed March 18, 2021.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/corneal-disorders/keratoconjunctivitis-sicca. Accessed March 18, 2021.
Thulasi P, Djalilian AR. Update in Current Diagnostics and Therapeutics of Dry Eye Disease. Ophthalmology. 2017 Nov;124(11S):S27-S33.
What is dry eye? Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/dry-eye. Accessed March 18, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD Last Updated: 03/19/2021