2021 In America Survey Findings: Living With Chronic Dry Eye
Last updated: August 2021
Nearly 16.5 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with chronic dry eye. About 6 million more have symptoms but have not been diagnosed. In the Chronic Dry Eye In America Survey, we asked community members what it is like to live with the condition. A total of 415 people responded. From the constant need to manage chronic dry eye to the most common symptoms, this is what they shared.1
Most common symptoms
A wide range of symptoms can affect people with chronic dry eye. Dryness and the feeling of a foreign body sensation are common. Other frequent symptoms are a stinging, burning, or scratching sensation, as well as itchy eyes or pain. To the surprise of some, watery eyes can also be a symptom of chronic dry eye.
Impact on daily activities
Seemingly simple activities that people perform on a daily basis can be hard when chronic dry eye is in control. The condition may force you to change anything from activities you enjoy to how you work.
What you wish others knew
There is a lot that people with chronic dry eye wish others in their lives knew about the condition. Among the most common points: Chronic dry eye does not just go away, it causes much more than just dryness, and it can be debilitating.
Treatment and control
The path to finding a treatment that works or makes the symptoms more manageable can be long and frustrating. Chronic dry eye is often misunderstood by both doctors and people with the condition. There is no single test to diagnose it, the symptoms can vary, and doctors sometimes have problems rating its severity. As a result, it is common for those with chronic dry eye to try many different treatments, often with mixed results.
Some people with chronic dry eye turn to additional methods, such as home remedies to try to treat chronic dry eye. These are used along with standard treatment to manage and improve symptoms. Some remedies are simple, like drinking more water. Others, like taking frequent breaks from digital screens or thoroughly removing makeup, can be more challenging.
The Chronic Dry Eye In America Survey was conducted online from February through April 2021. Of the 415 people who completed the survey, 44 percent reported they are currently diagnosed with a severe level of chronic dry eye (levels 3 and 4). All respondents were people who described having been diagnosed with chronic dry eye.
Has having dry eye helped you better advocate for yourself?