According to a 2012 Gallup poll, dry eye syndrome is a common problem that affects over 26 million Americans. This condition is characterized by insufficient lubrication in the form of tears, which are produced by tear glands and ducts. It is important to note that this condition can occur even when the tear glands and ducts are functioning normally. Below is a detailed look at the main causes of dry eye syndrome.
Inadequate Tear Production
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), inadequate tear production is a common cause of dry eye syndrome. In other words, the tears produced are unable to keep the eyes moist. They also cannot cover the eye surface with a thin layer of lubricant. The tears cannot remove dust and foreign objects or protect the eyes from infections. It is worth noting that tears are made of electrolytes, vitamins, and protein growth factors. These elements originate from the lacrimal layer, meibomian glands, and goblet cells located within the eye’s white part.
Meibomian Gland Inflammation
The meibomian gland produces lipids that make tears oilier and slow down evaporation as well. When these glands become inflamed, production of lipids is disrupted leading to tears that evaporate faster than normal. Medical experts call this condition evaporative dry eye or meibomian gland dysfunction.
Some medications including antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, as well as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and birth control drugs can cause this condition. For this reason, it is wise to consult your physician first if you have experienced dry eye syndrome while on medications that fall under any of these categories. This is especially true for women using contraceptives or undergoing hormonal therapy.
The American Optometrist Association (AOA) says dry eyes are part of the aging process with majority of people 65 years and older experiencing some degree of eye dryness. Moreover, the Mayo Clinic says individuals 50 years and older are more likely to experience eye dryness due to gradually diminishing production.
Medical conditions including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, blepharitis/eye lid inflammation, and thyroid health issues increase the risk of experiencing dry eye syndrome. Worryingly, patients with these conditions may be on drugs that are known to cause eye dryness such as decongestants, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Due to this, it is important to reveal to your physician any drug or medicated compounds that you may be using irrespective of the purpose.
Vision related medical procedures such as laser eye surgery and LASIK surgery could cause dry eye syndrome according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, surgeons who perform these procedures inform their patients that they may experience eye dryness. Fortunately, symptoms tend to be temporary.
Environmental conditions including exposure to dry and windy weather can cause dry eye syndrome. Also, staring at a computer screen for extended periods and exposure to smoke can trigger dry eye syndrome.
Dry Eyes Treatment Chelsea NYC
Dry eye syndrome occurs due to inadequate production of tears, which lubricate and keep the eyes moist. Furthermore, some of the common factors linked to this condition include aging, certain medical conditions, vision related medical procedures, meibomian gland inflammation, environmental conditions, and certain drugs. Luckily, most of these factors are relatively easy to manage or treat.
Be sure to talk to an eye doctor when you experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome. We will be able to treat your condition so that you achieve optimal eye health. At Optometric Eye Services, all of our eye doctors are fully trained and have the experience to understand what you and your loved ones need to achieve optimal eye health. Our staff is professional, caring, and interested in providing each patient with quality vision solutions.
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