What complications can occur if dry eyes not treated timely?
Created - 27 May 2016Last Modified - 14 Jun 2019
Dry eye syndrome occurs when eyes are not able to make an adequate amount of tears. It will cause your eyes to become inflamed or swollen.
Major Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
- A burning sensation in your eyes
- Stringy mucus around your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness or swelling
- A sensation of having any foreign particle in your eyes
- Complicatedness in wearing contact lenses
- Complicatedness in nighttime driving
- Watery eyes
- Blurry vision
For individuals with severe dry eye syndrome, drying of the surface of the eye leads to an increased risk of serious infections. If dry eye syndrome is not treated in a timely manner, scarring, thinning, and even perforation of the cornea can occur due to which vision may be permanently lost.
Possible complications of dry eye syndrome are highlighted as follows
- Diminished Quality of Life : If patients don't get the treatment of dry eye syndrome timely, they are likely to face a reduction in quality of life. Dry eye symptoms generally include a painful sensation of the eyes i.e. stinging, burning, or scratching. Eye irritation, redness and unclear vision are generally noticed. Additionally, patients may have experience difficulty in driving at night, reading, and performing other day-to-day activities.
- Ulceration of the Cornea : In most of the cases of untreated dry eye syndrome, inflammation or redness can harm the surface of the cornea. This is known as keratitis. It may lead to ulceration which could cause vision loss.
- Conjunctivitis : It is inflammation of the conjunctiva. Severe cases of conjunctivitis that occurred by dry eye syndrome are mild and don't need a particular treatment. However, if you have conjunctivitis that becomes chronic, then it is advisable to ask for treatment advice from a specialist.
- Eye Infections : Tears help the eyes feel highly comfortable and are also important to keep eyes healthy. Without an enough amount of moisture, eyes are more likely to catch infections. Patients who experience a possible eye infection must consult an ophthalmologist timely. The symptoms of an eye infection typically include redness, swelling, irritation, increased tearing, coating formation and eye discharge. Some eye infections can be severe and may affect an individual's vision. Dry eye syndrome can be uncomfortable but does not typically affect vision. In some cases, untreated dry eye syndrome leads to scarring of the eye's surface.
- Cornea Surface Damage : The cornea is the dome-shaped surface to be found in front of the iris. It helps to protect the eye. It also refracts the light incoming to the eye. The cornea usually needs a regular supply of tears to protect and to provide nourishment to eyes. Individuals with dry eyes who don't receive treatment timely are at a risk of increasing damage to the corneal surface. They may face eye inflammation, corneal ulcers and vision problems. A corneal abrasion may lead to eye irritation, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, loss of vision etc.
Dry eye syndrome is now considered as a common cause of depression due to the debilitating impact on daily functioning. When dry eye symptoms are intense, they may interfere with quality of life and can cause depression.