Is there a link between dry eye and eye infections?

Posted on June 2, 2013 · Posted in Dry Eye, Eye Health

Great question from a patient the other day regarding a relationship between dry eye and infections of the eye.  Most people don’t spend much time thinking about tears, but they really are a complex and important part of the eye.

When functioning as intended, the normal tear film acts to wash away bacteria, allergens, and other particles that could affect the surface of the eye.  When the tear film is absent, deficient, or unstable, all of these irritants are more likely to cause their undesirable effects.

So the direct answer to the question is yes.  And dry eye isn’t just linked to infection, but also increased allergy expression/symptoms and generalized inflammation.  The good news is that there are a lot of potential treatments for dry eye (such as artificial tears, like the brand Systane discussed in the above video, and punctal plugs) and research is constantly being done to develop more.  An eye doctor can evaluate the situation, determine what the underlying causes might be, and determine the best treatment plan for the individual case.