Inflammation is both a symptom and a cause, or contributing factor, in Dry Eye diseases. Inflammation can impact lacrimal gland function, meibomian gland function, conjunctival health, corneal health, and tear film.
Whether it is visible to the naked eye or exists invisibly at the cellular level, inflammation in the eyes and surrounding tissue can be extremely uncomfortable, and even disabling, when it is chronic.
Inflammation in the meibomian glands can lead to scarring and fibrotic tissue that obstructs the glands.
Inflammation of the conjunctiva can lead to a loss of goblet cells, the cells that are responsible for producing the mucin layer of the tear film. When the mucin layer is compromised, the tear film becomes unstable, losing its protective and lubricating qualities. A loss of lubricating qualities exacerbates inflammation and can lead to infiltration by pathogens and other disease states.
Corneal inflammation is associated with both the loss of epithelial cells and a reduced density of endothelial cells.
Inflammation of the lacrimal gland is associated with aqueous tear deficiency.
Chronic redness and tissue tenderness can be signs of inflammation that can be due to numerous conditions including:
Aqueous Tear Deficiency
Infestation by Demodex Mites
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
Saponification, or Frothy Tears
Sensitivities to Foods or Other Compounds