Diabetic patients with dry eye may experience the same symptoms as dry eye patients without diabetes. The symptoms consist of
- A gritty sensation
- Decreased visual acuity
- Photophobia (discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure)
- Decreased goblet cell density (a loss of cells that produce mucins which act as a defense against ocular surface damage)
- Corneal sensitivity
- Excessive tearing
More severe cases may be complicated by corneal lesions, conjunctivitis, keratopathy, and inflammation. Lack of symptoms may result from a reduction in corneal sensitivity caused by diabetic peripheral corneal neuropathy 4. Even a minimal decrease in corneal sensitivity is sufficient to cause changes in tear secretion.
Dry eye symptoms are typically severe in patients with diabetes whose glycemic control is poor.