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Definition

Dry Eye Syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) also known as Chronic Dry Eye and Ocular Surface Disease is a very common medical condition that is thought to affect close to 60 million Americans. It is a condition where the eyes have a reduced ability to produce or maintain a proper tear structure. In other words, it is a deficiency of the quality or quantity of the tears or tear film.

The tear film is made up of three components; the mucous layer, the aqueous layer and the lipid/oily layer. The mucous layer is the innermost layer of the tear film. Its job is to hold the tears to the eye. The aqueous layer is the middle layer. It is the watery or hydrating portion of the tears to the eye. The lipid or oily layer is the outer most portion of the tear film and it acts to inhibit evaporation. All three components are vital to a normal, healthy tear film. If any of these three layers are deficient, then dry eye symptoms may occur.

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