Dry eye syndrome is a multifactorial ocular disease that is poorly understood by most people. This condition is noted by discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability, with possible damage to the surface of the eye. Left untreated, dry eye syndrome is usually progressive in nature.
Multiple studies have shown that nearly 5 million Americans age 50 or older are significantly affected by dry eye disease. Women are affected twice as often as men, and the disease appears to be more common in those 45 years of age and older. The Beaver Dam Eye Study showed that age was the biggest contributory factor to dry eye syndrome. Those with diabetes or immunocompromised conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis also have a higher incidence of dry eye syndrome. Patients with arthritis, smokers, contact lens wearers, and those who have undergone hormone replacement therapy are more likely to suffer with this condition.
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