How to manage an outbreak of dry eye disease - LANSIER

How to manage an outbreak of dry eye disease

An outbreak is a temporary episode of discomfort that can last from a few days to a few weeks. Knowing what triggers your dry eye flare-up and taking advantage of new medications and therapies can help you regain relief faster.

What is a dry eye outbreak?

A flare is an episode of worsening dry eye symptoms, occurring in response to an external trigger in patients with dry eye disease. It often occurs suddenly, as a result of the body's inflammatory response to injury.

As Dr. Christopher Starr, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine, explains, "If a ball hits your arm, your skin becomes red, swollen, and tender and painful. When the ocular surface takes a 'blow,' the eye waters, becomes red and feels uncomfortable.

An outbreak in a person with dry eye is like an "attack" in a patient with asthma. In both cases, discomfort can be increased by the body's natural immune response. Doctors estimate that around 80% of dry eye patients experience flare-ups.

Symptoms of severe dry eye flare-ups

Signs include the return or worsening of symptoms experienced before the condition was under control, as well as:

  • eye burning
  • red eyes
  • blurred or variable vision
  • feeling that the eyes are "burning" or "tired"
  • I want to close my eyes


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