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Keratoconjunctivitis: Overview

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Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology
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Dry eye; Dry eye syndrome; Keratitis sicca; Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS); Sicca syndrome; Tear deficiency


An insufficient tear film to maintain ocular surface health, comfort, or luster required for optimal visual acuity.


The pathogenesis is multifactorial, but is broken down into aqueous deficiency (inadequate lacrimal gland function) and increased evaporative state (insufficient lipophilic tear layer which normally prevents aqueous tear evaporation) (2007). Aqueous deficiency may be related to normal aging, hormonal imbalances, collagen vascular disease, autonomic neuropathy, systemic or local inflammatory conditions, systemic medications, or vitamin deficiency. Increased evaporative states may be caused by blepharitis (meibomitis especially), ineffective blinking or abnormal lid anatomy (ectropion), topical medications, contact lens wear, or surface inflammation.

Clinical Presentation

Patients typically present with ocular irritation (foreign body...

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  • Behrens A, Doyle JJ, Stern L et al (2006) Dysfunctional tear syndrome: a Delphi approach to treatment recommendations. Cornea 25(8):900–907

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  • Goren MB, Goren SB (1988) Diagnostic tests in patients with symptoms of keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Am J Ophthalmol 106:570

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  • (2007) The definition and classification of dry eye disease: report of the Definition and Classification Subcommittee of the International Dry Eye Workshop. Ocul Surf 5(2):75–92

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  • (2007) The epidemiology of dry eye disease: report of the Epidemiology Subcommittee of the International Dry Eye Workshop. Ocul Surf 5(2):93–107

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Correspondence to Matthew B. Goren .

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Goren, M.B. (2018). Keratoconjunctivitis: Overview. In: Schmidt-Erfurth, U., Kohnen, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Ophthalmology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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