Dry eye is a chronic condition that results from an insufficient production of tears or excessive evaporation of the tear film. Dry eye affects millions of people worldwide and is one of the most common reasons that patients visit their doctor. Dry eye is usually associated with dryness, scratchiness, or burning of the eyes. Some people experience a “foreign body sensation,” a feeling that something is in the eye. The condition can also produce watery eyes because dryness can stimulate excess tearing as a reflex. In its early stages, dry eye causes mild discomfort, but it may become very uncomfortable as the condition progresses. One of the keys to improving this condition and to avoiding damage to the eyes is to recognize the symptoms of dry eye early and to seek treatment for it. Without treatment, chronic dry eye can lead to eye infection, scarring, and possibly impaired vision.
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