DRY EYES AFFECTING MILLIONS
Did you know seasonal and environmental factors can have an affect on our eyes? While this time of year is absolutely beautiful in Florida, the nice cooler, breezy air could be having a negative impact on your vision. Dry eye disease is estimated to affect millions of people in the United States, and symptoms and signs can be far and wide for each individual. Symptoms for dry eye can include periods of dryness irritation, redness, burning, watery eyes, blurred vision, and stinging.
According to the National Eye Institute, “Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when they evaporate too quickly. Dry eye can make it difficult to do some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane.”
With the ability to hinder everyday activities, dry eye can be a real nuisance, especially for those who opt for contact lenses.
WHAT COULD BEING DRYING OUT YOUR EYES?
So what exactly causes dry eye? It can stem from an array of factors like age and gender, medical conditions, and environment to name a few. Here is a list of risk factors, according to the National Eye Institute.
- Medications including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause, and medications for anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and high blood pressure have been associated with dry eye.
- Advancing age is a risk factor for declines in tear production. Dry eye is more common in people age 50 years or older.
- Rosacea (an inflammatory skin disease) and blepharitis (an inflammatory eyelid disease) can disrupt the function of the Meibomian glands.
- Autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Vitamin A deficiency are associated with dry eye.
- Women are more likely to develop dry eye. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after menopause have been linked with dry eye. Women also have an increased risk for autoimmune disorders.
- Windy, smoky, or dry environments increase tear evaporation.
- Seasonal allergies can contribute to dry eye.
- Prolonged periods of screen time encourage insufficient blinking.
- Laser eye surgery may cause temporary dry eye symptoms.
HELP IS A CALL AWAY
It’s always best to consult with your optometrist if your eyes have been bothering you. While there are many options available, they can only provide temporary relief. Our first recommendation will usually be daily application of artificial tear drops, at least 2-4 times per day.
If you find yourself using artificial tears more frequently, it may be time to give us a call. We can help guide you towards a solution and relief, including some minor procedures, over-the-counter options, or, if needed, prescription strength drops.
Call us today at (941) 756-2020 to schedule an appointment with any of our six optometrists at the Eye Center, Inc. We offer three convenient optometry offices and optical centers in the Manatee County area.