Is Chronic Dry Eye a Disease?

Yes. People can experience dry eye symptoms without having a disease.  But a number of people do have a medical disease called Chronic Dry Eye (CDE).

Some important things you should remember about Chronic Dry Eye risk factors and consequences:

Chronic Dry Eye disease may be caused by instability of the tear film. Several different tear layers collaborate to make and maintain the tears that keep your eyes continually moist and healthy. Dysfunctions causing instability in one or more of these layers can lead to Chronic Dry Eye.

Chronic Dry Eye disease may be exacerbated by external conditions. Certain external conditions can aggravate dry eye symptoms, including pollen and allergies, dry air or wind, dust or smoke, sitting too long at the computer, and wearing contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eye disease may be progressive. In some people, Chronic Dry Eye disease may progress—in other words, get worse—over time. If you have questions about Chronic Dry Eye, you should talk to your eye doctor and discuss your options.

Chronic Dry Eye disease may have potential health consequences for your eyes. Over time it may:

  • Damage the front surface of your eyes
  • Increase your risk of eye infection
  • Affect your vision