Tear physiology and dry eyes

Surv Ophthalmol. 1977 Sep-Oct;22(2):69-87. doi: 10.1016/0039-6257(77)90087-x.


The conditions of tear film formation and stability are governed by the surface chemical characteristics of the tear film system and by the proper functioning of the lacrimal apparatus. The tear film has to remain continuous between blinks in order to fulfill it function. The presence of an abnormal tear film results in dry eye states that can be detrimental to vision. The diagnostic tests presently available are limited mainly to approximately determining tear secretion rate and estimating epithelial damage by staining techniques. The only test that directly measures tear film stability is one which determines tear film breakup time. The treatment modalities depend on the type of irregularity causing the dry eye state and range from the application of artificial tear substitutes or the obstruction of the puncta to surgical alterations of the lacrimal system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contact Lenses / adverse effects
  • Dysautonomia, Familial / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / physiology*
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / physiopathology
  • Lacrimal Apparatus Diseases* / surgery
  • Models, Biological
  • Mucins / deficiency
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Tears / metabolism*


  • Mucins