Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also called keratitis sicca,sicca syndrome, xerophthalmia, dry eye syndrome (DES), or simply dry eyes, is an eye disease caused by decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation commonly found in humans and some animals
* Early symptoms: * One-sided swollen parotid salivary gland * Both parotid salivary glands swollen * Swollen cheeks * Swollen jaw * Most common symptoms: * Dry mouth - very common * Dry eyes - very common * Dry skin - about half of patients * Vaginal dryness * Symptoms caused by dry eyes: * Eye redness * Burning eyes * Itching eyes * Gritty eyes * Symptoms caused by dry mouth: * Thick saliva * No saliva * Difficulty chewing * Swallowing difficulty * Eating difficulty * Tasting difficulty * Speaking difficulty * Hoarseness * Smooth tongue * Mouth redness * Cracked lips * Mouth sores - at the corners * Tongue ulcers * Recurrent mouth infections * Oral candidiasis * Dental caries * Symptoms from dry skin: * Itching * Cracked skin * Skin rashes * Sun sensitivity * Sunburn * Dry nose * Dry throat * Dry larynx * Painful intercourse * Thyroid problems * Joint pain * Muscle pain * Lung problems * Pneumonia * Aspiration pneumonia * Limb numbness * Limb tingling * Extreme fatigue * Periods of remission and recurrences * Dry eyes * Burning eyes * Gritty feel in eye * Irritated eye * Itchy eye * Tired eye * Foreign body sensation * Excessive tearing * Scratchy eye * Stingy eye * Light sensitive eyes
Dry eye syndrome often occurs in people who are otherwise healthy. It is more common with older age, because you produce fewer tears with age. In rare cases, it can be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, and other similar diseases. It may also be caused by heat (thermal) or chemical burns. In areas of the world where malnutrition is common, vitamin A deficiency is a cause. This is rare in the United States.
There is no way to prevent dry eye syndrome. You can prevent complications by using wetting and lubricating drops and ointments.
Most patients with dry eye have only discomfort, and no vision loss. With severe cases, the clear window on the front of the eye (cornea) may become damaged or infected.
Treatments may include: * Wetting drops called artificial tears * Lubricating ointments (in more severe cases) * Tiny plugs placed in the tear drainage ducts to help the tears stay on the surface of the eye * Medications such as Restasis, topical corticosteroids, and oral tetracycline and doxyccycline Surgery may be used if the eyelids are in an abnormal position.