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March 03, 2023 2 min read

Dry eye disease (DED) is a chronic and progressive condition that affects the eye and can cause a significant decrease in vision quality. It is caused by a lack of sufficient tears and can cause discomfort, loss of vision, and even permanent damage to the eye if left untreated. Treatments are available, but it's essential to understand the stages and progression of the disease to make the most informed decisions and get the best results.

Stage 1: Pre-DED  

The first stage of dry eye disease is pre-DED. This is when the symptoms of dry eye have not yet appeared, but the tear-producing cells have already been affected, leading to decreased production of tears. Symptoms at this stage can include a feeling of dryness, irritation, and discomfort in the eyes, as well as difficulty reading and blurred vision.

Stage 2: Mild DED

The lack of tears has become more severe at this stage, and the dry eye disease symptoms are more intense. Symptoms can include an increased feeling of dryness, irritation, discomfort, redness of the eyes, blurred vision, and the sensation of having something in the eyes. 

Stage 3: Moderate DED

The third stage of dry eye is moderate DED. At this point, fewer tears are being produced, and the dry eye disease symptoms are becoming more severe. Symptoms at this stage can include persistent dryness, irritation, redness, blurred vision, a sensation of grittiness or sand in the eyes, and increased sensitivity to light. 

Stage 4: Severe DED

This is when the tear production has stopped altogether, and the symptoms are very intense. Symptoms can include severe pain, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and severe eye fatigue. Eye damage may have already occurred at this stage and can become permanent if left untreated. 

Stage 5: Post-DED

The fifth and final stage of dry eye is post-DED. This is when the dry eye has been treated, and the symptoms have been resolved. At this stage, it is vital to keep up with regular doctor visits and proactive treatments such as eye drops or ointments to maintain the eyes' health and keep dry eye disease from returning.


Dry eye disease is a chronic and progressive condition that can cause a significant decrease in vision quality. It is essential to be aware of the disease's progression and the dry eye treatments available to ensure that the eyes stay healthy and that any damage that has occurred is reduced or reversed. With proper care and proactive treatments, you can manage dry eye disease and significantly reduce the chances of severe damage being done to the eyes.

Manage your DED with adry eye compress from Dry Eye Mask. We are a specialty eye care provider specializing in dry eye syndrome and offering complete treatment and prevention for dry, itchy eyes. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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