People with diabetes have a significantly increased risk for Dry Eye. One study showed that those with diabetes have a 50 percent chance of suffering from dry eye.

According to Dr. A. Paul Chous, OD,

Most cases of Dry Eye associated with diabetes are caused by insufficient production of tears due to autonomic neuropathy affecting the nerves that control the lacrimal gland. That is, the same process leading to diabetic peripheral neuropathy that causes symptoms like tingling or burning in the hands and feet, can also affect the involuntary (autonomic) nerves, including those that normally sense dryness and produce moisture to keep the eyes well lubricated (the same essential mechanism that leads to digestive problems common in diabetes, like diabetic gastroparesis). When the cornea, the transparent and extremely sensitive window overlying the colored parts of our eyes is no longer adequately lubricated, the cells of the cornea become damaged and free nerve endings are exposed – leading to the very typical symptoms of Dry Eye, including pain and reflex tearing.

Keeping blood sugar levels as tightly controlled as possible is the first step in preventing and remedying Dry Eye Syndrome associated with diabetes. Not only does chronically high blood glucose lead to autonomic neuropathy affecting the tear gland, it also affects the quality of our tears by increasing the amount of glucose in those tears and disrupting their normal chemical composition, a factor that also contributes to symptoms of Dry Eye. One study showed that symptoms of dry eye are more common in patients with poor blood glucose control and those who have been diagnosed with proliferative diabetic neuropathy, the most severe form of this sight-threatening disease.

From: Dry eyes and diabetes often go hand in hand
Retrieved July 31, 2015 from: www.dlife.com/dLife/do/ShowContent/inspiration_ expert_advice/expert_columns/chous_sept2006.html


Diabetes and Dry Eye: The Forgotten Connection
Review of Optometry. 12th Annual Diabetes Report
Milton M. Hom, O.D.
Release Date: September 2010
Expiration Date: September 30, 2013