Xerophthalmia is a nonspecific degenerative phenomenon characterized by dryness of the conjunctiva due to diminution of the lacrimal secretions as well as changes of the conjunctival membrane itself. The normal conjunctival secretions are sufficient to moisten the conjunctiva and cornea when the lacrimal gland is absent or has been removed surgically.
A number of pathological phenomena which cause cicatrization of the submucosal conjunctival tissues will permanently destroy the submucous glands and affect the lacrimal gland as well.1 Endocrine, inflammatory, and a number of degenerative diseases may cause these changes, e.g., Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Sjögren's syndrome, ocular pemphigus, trachoma, and others.
Treatment of this condition has been highly unsuccessful except in vitamin A deficiency where a specific therapy is available. Artificial tears, oily drops, hormones, mucosal grafts, and blocking of the puncta have been used with varying degrees of improvement.
Parotid secretions have proved to be an excellent agent for wetting
PIERCE MK, GOLDBERG JL, BROOKS CJ. A Direct Approach for Transposition of the Parotid DuctA Description of an Intra-Oral Approach to the Inferior Conjunctival Cul-de-Sac. Arch Ophthalmol. 1960;64(4):566-570. doi:10.1001/archopht.1960.01840010568014