Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, otherwise known as KCS or Dry Eye is a condition in which tear production is abnormally low.
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- Dry appearance to the eye
- Increased thick ocular discharge
- Conjunctivitis – red/inflamed eyes
- Corneal edema (hazy white appearance to outer eye)
- Corneal pigmentation (brown discoloration to the outer eye)
Corneal ulcers or damage to outer eye can occur secondary to KCS
Diagnosis is made by performing a test to measure tear production called a Schirmer Tear Test. A fluorescein stain may be performed to help rule out corneal damage or ulceration secondary to KCS.
Treatment of KCS is life long and involves using a combination of therapies to help stimulate natural tear production, provide lubrication to the eye and control secondary bacterial infections. The most common medication used is an ophthalmic ointment called Optimmune (or other cyclosporine eye medications) – this treatment can stimulate tear production as well as decrease inflammation. Prognosis is good for patients with KCS, however treatment is lifelong.