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Eye diseases

Dry eye: pathology and treatment types

The underlying disease process in dry eye disease causes deterioration of the tear film, which leads to either mild or more serious forms of the condition. A variety of treatment types may offer symptomatic relief.

Infographic explaining the pathology and treatment types of dry eye disease

Dry eye: pathology and treatment types

Download the full infographic here

Diagram showing the different parts of the eye and pathology of dry eye disease

Figure 1: Pathology of dry eye disease

There are two main types of dry eye disease: aqueous deficient dry eye caused by a reduction in fluid from the lacrimal glands, and evaporative dry eye, caused by a reduction in oily substance from the meibomian glands

Illustration showing the tear film cycle in dry eye disease

Figure 2: The tear film cycle in dry eye disease

Aqueous deficient dry eye and evaporative dry eye result in instability of the tear film that bathes, nourishes and protects the eye, leading to inflammation and potential damage to the eye surface

List of dry eye treatments depending on mildness or severity of symptoms

Figure 3: Treatment for dry eye disease

A number of different strategies are used to treat dry eye conditions, depending on their cause and whether the symptoms are mild or severe

Best referral advise on dry eye for pharmacists

Figure 4: Referral advice for dry eye

Pharmacists are encouraged to refer patients with dry eye disease to a specialist when there is a reasonable level of uncertainty in the history and symptom-informed differential diagnosis

Citation: Supplements DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201582

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Supplementary images

  • Diagram showing the different parts of the eye and pathology of dry eye disease
  • Illustration showing the tear film cycle in dry eye disease
  • List of dry eye treatments depending on mildness or severity of symptoms
  • Best referral advise on dry eye for pharmacists

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