Patients experiencing dry eye should know that it is a common condition. Why might you have dry eye? It’s likely because your tears lack the elements needed to keep your eyes moist. If you do not make enough tears or produce poor quality tears, then it is possible to get dry eye. Keep reading for some of the warning signs of dry eye!
What is Dry Eye?
When you have dry eyes, your eyes are uncomfortable and you may experience a burning, stinging, or gritty sensation. Dry eyes can occur because of flying, being near air conditioning or looking at computers, it can also be caused by conditions that make it difficult for the eye to produce high quality tears. It is very important to know the causes and symptoms of dry eye, so that symptoms can be properly managed and treated.
What are the Causes of Dry Eye?
Dry eye can have many causes, making it crucial to see an eye doctor to properly diagnose the condition and develop a dry eye treatment plan. Causes can include:
- Medications for diseases like Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, or hormone replacement therapy.
- Aging can contribute to declining tear production. People who are 50+ are more likely to have dry eye.
- Inflammatory skin and eyelid diseases can affect how the tear glands work, such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
- Autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as diabetes.
- Women are more likely than men to develop dry eye. Changes in hormones during pregnancy and menopause have been connected to dry eye.
- Environmental factors like wind, dry or smoke can make tears evaporate faster.
- Allergies affect dry eye, as well.
- Looking at screens too long affects tear production because it reduces blink rate.
- LASIK patients might experience temporary dry eye following the procedure.
What can increase your risk of Dry Eye?
- Using a computer, smartphone or tablet for long periods of time can lead to dry eye. When we use technology we blink less often, which affects the rate of tear evaporation.
- A common complaint of people who wear contact lenses is dry eyes.
- Indoor environment like air conditioning, fans, and heating systems reduce humidity.With less water in the air, this affects tear production levels.
- People who fly frequently can experience dry eye because of the dry air in the cabin.
- Smoking has been connected to a variety of eye conditions including dry eye.
- People who have eyelid issues like lagophthalmos. This occurs when the eyelid cannot close completely during sleep or blinking. A simple procedure can solve this problem, but it can cause intense dry eyes if it is not treated.
- Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, which occurs when the oil glands in the eye become clogged and are unable to release oils onto the surface of the eye.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
There are many different symptoms of dry eyes. Some of the symptoms include:
- Stinging, burning or scratchy feeling or sensation in your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness
- Feeling like there is something in your eyes
- Problems driving at night
- Issues wearing contact lenses
- Discharge and pain in the eye
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye tiredness and/or the sensation of heavy eyelids
It is important to pay attention to the causes, symptoms and external factors that can lead to dry eyes. This way, patients can make modifications to reduce their likelihood of dry eye.
At the Balin Eye & Laser Center, we offer several treatment options for dry eye including drops and cutting-edge technologies such as LipiFlow and BlephEx. Using advanced diagnostic techniques, we can accurately identify the cause of dry eye and apply the best treatments to achieve optimum results. Looking for more information about dry eye? Schedule an appointment at Balin Eye & Laser Center in Northampton, MA today!