Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Dry Eye Syndrome May Cut Life Quality

Study Notes Vision Problems With Reading, Working, Driving
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 13, 2007 -- Dry eye syndrome may make vision significantly harder while reading, driving, working, watching TV, or using computers, a new study shows.

Dry eye syndrome is marked by a deficiency in the quantity or quality of tears and may also include eye irritation, dryness, fatigue, and visual disturbances. Dry eye syndrome is common but it's usually not a major health threat, note the researchers.

They included Debra Schaumberg, ScD, OD, MPH, of the division of preventive medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Schaumberg and colleagues studied 450 women and 240 men, a third of whom had symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

The female participants were at least 49 years old and were enrolled in the Women's Health Study, a long-term health study of female health care professionals in the U.S.

The male participants were at least 55 years old and were enrolled in the Physicians' Health Study, a long-term health study of male doctors in the U.S.

In surveys, participants rated the extent to which eye problems limited routine activities including reading, working, watching TV, using computers, driving during daytime, and driving at night.

Those with dry eye syndrome were the most likely to report that eye problems hampered their ability to perform those activities. The results held after the researchers considered other factors, such as participants' age, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which can all contribute to eye problems.

Participants with dry eye syndrome who used artificial tears were about half as likely to report vision problems with everyday activities as those with dry eye syndrome who didn't use artificial tears.

The study appears in the American Journal of Ophthalmology and was partly funded by a grant from Pfizer Consumer Health Care, which makes products including eyedrops and artificial tears. Pfizer is a WebMD sponsor.

In the journal, Schaumberg and another researcher note receiving research funds, consulting for, or serving on the scientific advisory boards of various drug companies and eye care companies.

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop