What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a chronic and progressive eye disease where your tears cannot provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. The glands involved in tear production either fail to produce enough tears or produce tears of poor quality.
Tears are essential to the overall health of our eyes and our vision. Tears help protect and lubricate, reduce the risk of an eye infection, wash away foreign particles and keep the front surface of our eyes smooth and clear. If we have poor tear quality, dry spots can develop on the eye’s front surface and can cause blurry vision and eye discomfort.
People with dry eyes may experience many symptoms. Here is a list of the most common symptoms.
- Gritty, burning, or Scratchy feeling.
- Light Sensitivity.
- Excessive Tearing.
- Irritation in Windy Conditions
- Blurry Vision
- Problems Wearing Contact Lenses
- Tired Eyes
Age. Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over age 50 experience some symptoms of dry eyes.
Gender. Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.
Medications. Certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and acne medications, can reduce tear production.
Medical conditions. People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, and thyroid problems are more likely to have dry eyes. Also, people with blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelids, may develop dry eyes.
Environmental Factors. Exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, can also contribute to drying the eyes.
Other factors. Long-term use of contact lenses can be a factor in the development of dry eyes. Eye surgeries, such as LASIK, PRK, and Cataract surgery can decrease tear production and contribute to dry eyes.