Dry eye syndrome is a chronic (and sometimes progressive) condition that occurs when your eyes can’t produce enough tears to stay hydrated or when your tears aren’t capable of providing adequate lubrication for your eyes – mostly because they evaporate too quickly.
It is one of the most common eye problems, affecting one-third of the population at least once during their lifetime, mostly after the age of 50. It is also more common in people who wear contact lenses and women –hormonal changes resultant of pregnancy, menopause, and the use of birth control pills increase the risk of dry eyes.
Tears are produced and secreted by the lacrimal glands, located around the eyes. They are composed of water (for moisture), mucus (for an even distribution of the tear film), oils (for lubrication), and antibodies and proteins (for protection against infections).
When tear production and secretion are affected, you start experiencing a series of symptoms that cause great discomfort.