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Dry Eyes

Is Dry Eye Interfering With Your Quality of Life?

Take this quiz to gauge just how much chronic dry eye is impacting your work, social life, relationships, and more.

If you’ve been diagnosed with dry eye, you’re probably aware that there’s more to this condition than occasional discomfort and redness.

In fact, an estimated 16 million people live with dry eye, a condition that occurs when your eyes don’t produce tears properly, according to the National Eye Institute. One of the most common causes of dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction, which occurs when the meibomian glands in the eyelids don’t secrete enough oils onto the surface of the eye. Without those oils, tears evaporate too quickly, leading to dry eye.

This lack of quality tears can be exacerbated by daily life — for example, by a dry climate, allergens such as pollen or pet dander, or spending a lot of time looking at a phone or computer screen, says Beth Friedland, MD, a professor and dry eye specialist at the Kittner Eye Center at UNC Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Because dry eye symptoms often worsen slowly over time, you may not realize how much it’s affecting your quality of life. This quick assessment can help you identify how dry eye may be holding you back and what to do about it.

Question 1

How does your dry eye impact your work life?

  • A. It doesn’t. I don’t notice any symptoms of dry eye, like redness or irritation, at work
  • B. Once in a while, especially if I’m doing a lot of computer work
  • C. Often to almost always — dry eye bothers me a lot throughout the day