Purpose: Dry eye disease (DED) is a prevalent inflammatory disorder of the lacrimal functional unit of multifactorial origin leading to chronic ocular surface disease, impaired quality of vision, and a wide range of complications, eventually causing a reduction in quality of life. It still is a frustrating disease because of the present scarcity of therapies that can reverse, or at least stop, its progression.
Methods: A comprehensive literature survey of English-written scientific publications on the role of inflammation in DED.
Results: New investigations have demonstrated that a chronic inflammatory response plays a key role in the pathogenesis of human DED. Additionally, correlations between inflammatory molecules and clinical data suggest that inflammation can be responsible for some of the clinical symptoms and signs.
Conclusions: Research efforts to clarify its pathophysiology are leading to a better understanding of DED, demonstrating that inflammation, in addition to many other factors, plays a relevant role.