Jan 18, 2024
Dry Eye Disease: The Itch You Can’t Scratch

The human eye is one of the most complex parts of our body. As it is the sensory organ of sight, eyes connect us to the ability of receiving and processing visual stimuli.  Kaya natural sa atin na seryosohin ang usaping eye care.

According to the 2017 consensus report of the Asia Dry Eye Society (ADES), “dry eye disease is a  multifactorial disease characterized by unstable tear film causing a variety of symptoms and/or visual impairment, potentially accompanied by ocular surface damage.”

Dry eye disease or DED is an ophthalmological disorder prevalent among the middle and older aged groups. It is sometimes referred to as dysfunctional tear syndrome and can be progressive with major consequences for a patient’s vision. Kaya naman, ang DED ay maaaring makaapekto sa kalidad ng ating buhay at manatiling hindi kapansin-pansin, hindi tama ang diagnosis, at hindi naayon ang gamutan.

Kaka-cellphone mo ‘yan!

All jokes aside, ayon sa clinical profile of dry eye disease na ginawa sa Philippine General Hospital, tinatayang kasama na rin ang mga nakababatang populasyon sa listahan ng mga tinatamaan ng DED. This change is a result of the rapid and continuous shift to digitalization; many health problems are inclined towards lifestyle-related diseases.

Chronic dry eye disease may occur kapag ang tear glands natin ay kulang ang inilalabas na tears o luha at maaari rin namang kapag mabilis itong matuyo. 

The following may be taken to account of common causes of dry eyes such as aging, medication (certain meds can reduce mucus production), excessive computer use, laser surgery, menopause, vitamin A deficiency, diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease among others. 

How do these risk factors lead to DED?

When menopause occurs, the levels of androgen hormones decrease, which can affect the glands located on your eyelids. These glands become inflamed and produce fewer tears of poorer quality–leading to dryness, irritation, and discomfort. Now, it is important to note as well that vitamin A is essential for maintaining eye health and vision. If you are vitamin A deficient, it may lead to a progressive eye disease called xerophthalmia which can cause dry eyes due to the lack of lubrication from tears. As for diabetes, DED is a common complication for both type 1 and type 2 patients. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels can damage the delicate nerves that support our eyes. This may result in poor tear quality, decreased tear production, and the development of DED.

If the kidneys are unable to remove waste substances effectively, it can result in the accumulation of minerals and salts, such as phosphate and calcium. When these minerals build-up and settle in the eyes, it may lead to dryness, irritation, and discomfort. In case you have kidney disease, it is imperative that you ask your nephrologist (kidney doctor) about your eyes and see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist) as well. You need to see an eye doctor to find the right cause of DED. Note that other health problems, aside from kidney disease, can cause dry eye disease.

Ano-ano ba ang signs of dry eye disease?

  •         Pangangati o mahapding sensasyon ng mga mata
  •         Sensitibong paningin sa liwanag or sensitivity to light
  •         Malabnaw na uhog o stringy mucus sa mga mata
  •         Pamumula ng mga mata
  •         Hirap sa pagsusuot o paggamit ng contact lens
  •         Panlalabo ng paningin at pagkapagod ng mga mata o eye fatigue
  •         Pagluluha ng mga mata o watery eyes (as a response to the irritation of dry eyes)


You may experience these uncomfortable sensations which may lead to inflammation and damage of the eye’s surface.  When left untreated, it can cause a variety of complications such as double vision and infections.

A clear vision entails a clear solution

Dry eye treatment depends on the cause. Generally, you may avoid smoking and secondhand smoking, dry places (e.g. deserts, airplanes), hair dryers or fans blowing your face to name a few. There are several ways to relieve DED which may include using a humidifier, taking a break from using a computer, gadget, or book, and wearing glasses or eye protection among others.

Relief is also available through over-the-counter or prescription eye drops.

MedChoice offers Sodium Hyaluronate (Hynadin) 1mg/mL (0.1% w/v), an eye lubricant used for the treatment of keratoconjunctivitis injury associated with the following endogenous (originating within the body) diseases such as dry eye syndrome, Sjorgen’s syndrome, Steven-Johnson’s syndrome; and exogenous (originating outside the body) diseases such as laser surgery, drugs, trauma, contact lens wearing, and others.  



A New Perspective on Dry Eye Classification: Proposal by the Asia Dry Eye Society. (2019). National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://doi.org/10.1097/CL.0000000000000643 

Ames, H. (2022, January 31). What to know about menopause and high blood pressure. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/menopause-and-high-blood-pressure-link-and-treatment#summary

Dry eye disease. (2020, May 27). American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/dry-eye-disease 

Dry eyes – Symptoms & causes – Mayo Clinic. (2022, September 23). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371863

Higuera, V. (2020, July 7). Chronic dry eye causes and how to treat them. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-dry-eye/causes-how-to-treat  

Kidney disease, dialysis, and your eyes. (2017, July 12). National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/newsletter/kidney-disease-dialysis-and-your-eyes 

Lim Bon Siong, R., Claudio, K. M., Dualan, I. J., & Sosuan, M. (2022). Clinical Profile of Dry Eye Disease at the Philippine General Hospital. Philippine Journal of Ophthalmology. PDF. https://paojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/005-PJO-JAN-JUN-2022-LIM-BON-SIONG_pp23-30_V5.pdf