Dry eye syndrome


Sagandykova Aliya Niyazovna


Doctor – ophthalmologist of the highest category (adult and pediatric ophthalmology)

Work experience – 20 years.


Ophthalmological Center Konovalov, city of  Almaty


Dry eye syndrome (DES) occurs when the production of tears decreases, which moisturizes, protects, and clear the eyes. It is almost the most common cause of vision problems. 


It is more common in old age because the production of tears gradually fades away. 


The syndrome is one of the causes of chronic eye irritation, an inflammatory reaction of the vessels of the conjunctiva, and, as a consequence, the “red-eye”.


Dry eyes can be a cause of discomfort or become a chronic problem. It can generate many unpleasant symptoms that lead to a decrease in the quality of life.

      • 58% of people experience mild discomfort.

      • 30% of people are in the middle.

      • 12% of people suffer from DES.

Statistics show that the prevalence of the disease depends on gender and age:

      • Women – 8.8%

      • Men – 4.5%

      • 18-34 years – 2.7%

      • Over 34 years old – 18.6%

What causes dry eyes?


First, let’s understand how tears work.


When we blink, tears flow down the front of our eyes. They lubricate our eyes, wash away dust and dirt from the cornea, keeping our eyes clean, and reducing the risk of eye infections. 


The excess fluid drains into small ducts at the inner corners of the eyelids.Tears are made up of three important layers that protect and nourish the surface of the eye. A problem with any of these leads to dry eye syndrome.

      • Lipid layer – acts as a lube, prevents evaporation of the water layer.

      • The water layer – moisturizes and maintains the eye.

      • Mucinous – retains moisture on the cornea.

DES cause –

      1. Dysfunction of the meibomian glands. They do not produce enough lipids. As a result, tears evaporate too quickly.

      2. Lack of water in the body. The lacrimal glands do not produce enough fluid to keep the eyes moist.

      3. Keratoconjunctivitis dry. It is the most common cause of dry eyes, which occurs when there are not enough tears.

      4. An imbalance between the number of tears and the rate at which they evaporate.

The main symptoms are:

      • Dry, irritated, or red eyes.

      • Inflammation, itching, or burning.

      • Decreased visual acuity and fatigue.

      • Sensitive or sore eyes.

      • The discomfort of the eyelids.

      • The sensation of a foreign body in the eye.

It may sound strange one of the symptoms is excessive tearing. It occurs as a reflex reaction to the syndrome. 


These tears consist mostly of water. They flow from the eyes without performing the function of healthy tears.


Factors that increase the risk of dry eyes


Dry eye can have many different causes, including:

      1. Environment.

      2. Acute and chronic diseases.

      3. Side effects of medication.

      4. Hormonal changes

      5. Aging

Above, on the slide, the mechanism for maintaining the stability of the tear film is shown. After about 3 seconds, after one blink, it breaks and renews when the eyelid covers the eye one more time. 


If the period between blinks increases, then you can feel discomfort from drying out the mucous membrane. That is why it is so essential to blink every 3-6 seconds.


The most common cause of DES in children and young people is a computer and mobile devices. 


Under normal conditions, the human eye blinks 10-15 times a minute, but when attention is focused on the screen, this indicator decreases 2-3 times.


We begin to blink less often when concentrating attention on something. Therefore, it is advisable to use special programs that remind the eye to close during work, rest, or play.


This recommendation is a simple and effective method for preventing eye diseases.


The program can be easily installed on a phone or other gadgets. It works as a kind of alarm clock for the eyes, without distracting from the main activity.