Dry Eye Disease – Nurse Practitioner
Dry eye disease (DED) is a chronic, progressive, inflammatory disease of the ocular surface and lacrimal glands. The American Academy of Ophthalmology describes DED as inadequate moisture in the eyes due to changes in tear film consistency and the type of tears produced (leading to evaporative loss), with or without decreased tear production. The disease is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, ocular surface disease, and dry eye syndrome. Nearly 12 million people in the US are coping with dry eye symptoms on a daily basis. The prevalence of DED among adults in the US is approximately 14%. The disease occurs twice as often in women, and increases in prevalence with age (3% at 35 years and nearly 19% at 75 years or older). Many factors contribute to DED. It has been linked with various autoimmune diseases (eg, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), diabetes, and thyroid disorders. DED has also been associated with blepharitis and rosacea. In addition, eyelids that are turned in (entropion) or out (ectropion) can result in DED. Postmenopausal women are at high risk for DED – most likely due to hormonal changes resulting in a reduced ophthalmic antiinflammatory response and decreased lacrimal secretions. Dry eye disease takes its toll on patients economically and on their quality of life. Symptoms range from stinging, irritation, ocular fatigue, to variations in visual acuity. These can occur for extended periods of time and significantly impact a person’s daily activities. In a 2016 report on the humanistic and economic impact of DED in the US, the annual direct cost for managing the disease was estimated at $3.8 billion dollars....