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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome can cause:

  • Burning or itchy eyes

  • A feeling of something gritty, like sand, in the eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

  • Excessive tearing

Excessive tearing may seem to be an unusual symptom for dry eye syndrome. But these are called irritant tears, and are produced as a reflex reaction to the syndrome. They contain more water than normal tears, which have a balance of water, fat and mucus. Therefore, the excess tears just run off the eyes and cannot lubricate them as healthy tears do.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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