Contributing Factors to Dry Eyes:
Age, Gender and Dry Eyes
As we age, we experience hormonal changes. These changes are known to cause or contribute to dry eyes. While this is true of both men and women, it seems that women over 50 are particularly more prone to developing dry eye symptoms. Pregnancy is also known to contribute to or exacerbate dry eye syndrome.
Environmental Factors and Irritants
By increasing the rate at which our tears evaporate, the following environmental factors are known to play a huge role in causing or contributing to dry eyes:
- Smoke, Allergens, Pollution, Cold-climate and central heating, dry climate, sandy or dusty conditions, altitude
Contact Lenses and Dry Eye
Poor cleaning habits, not changing the contact often enough, and sleeping in contact lenses can all contribute to dry eyes. However, even for those who take proper care with their contacts, they can still be a contributing cause of dry eyes. In fact, one of the main reasons people discontinue contact lens usage is due to dry eyes. The good news is there have been major improvements across all the brands with special contacts that are aimed at preventing dry eye symptoms.
Various diseases contribute to, or even cause, dry eyes. Autoimmune diseases are a known factor. Rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome – a common symptom that rheumatologists treat can also contribute to dry eyes. Diabetics or those with Glaucoma that requires medication are also more likely to have dry eye syndrome.
Lifestyle and Dry Eyes
As with everything, proper balanced diet and exercise are important in preventing or managing dry eye syndrome. There are two specific activities that relate directly to Dry Eyes.
Does Staring At A Screen Cause Dry Eye?
- Continuous staring at a fixed object, such as a phone or computer screen, usually results in a decreased blink rate. The lack of blinking actually causes the eyes not to replenish the tears often enough. The meibomian glands, therefore, can become blocked or even atrophy and die.
- Prolonged And Continuous Use Of Digital Devices Is Thought To Be The Likely Culprit In The Significant Increase Of Dry Eye Syndrome Throughout The General Population.
Does Drinking More Water Help With Dry Eye?
- The main component of tears is water. Most of us don’t drink enough water. If you are dehydrated or
Dry Eye Treatment for Severe Cases
For more significant cases of dry eye, Dr. Ruiz may recommend punctual plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.
Many times omega 3 Fatty Acids are recommended and have been proven to help with Dry Eye Syndrome.
If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.
Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.
If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.