The surface of the eye is protected by tears. Tears are made up of 3 layers: a water layer, a (fatty or oily) layer, and a mucous layer. When there are not enough tears being produced by the eye, or if the tears are lacking in 1 or more of these layers, the eye can feel dry. Dry eye is also called xerophthalmia. Dry eye is common and can be related to eye problems or disease affecting the whole body. Dry eye is a frequent adverse effect (side effect) of medications. Dry eye may lead to irritation or inflammation of the cornea (the eye's surface) and cause vision problems. Individuals who have dry eye are usually referred to an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors with specialized education in the treatment of eye diseases, including surgical procedures on the eye.