What is dry eye syndrome, how common is it and what are some of the causes?

Question: What is dry eye syndrome, how common is it and what are some of the causes?

Answer: Dry eye syndrome is ocular disease that affects the tears and the ocular surface and it can lead to damage of the ocular surface. It's a very common condition. Millions of people around the world have it. Somewhere between 7 and 15 percent in the U.S. and even higher in Asian countries.

Patients will complain that their eyes feel dry, scratchy, burn, sting. And during the day their vision can be intermittently blurred, coming and going in and out of focus. And if you examine the tear layer you'll see it's not stable, it separates and there are dry spots that form on the cornea. I sometimes describe the causes -- they're very complicated -- to be in two groups. One, something wrong with the quantity of tears or the quality of tears.

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