Our eyes are a much-needed tool in our everyday lives. When there are issues with them, it makes functioning on a daily basis more challenging. Depending on their severity, some eye conditions may negatively impact our quality of life. Dry eyes syndrome is one such condition.
Dry eyes are typically a sign that something’s not right with the tear system. Due to numerous uncomfortable symptoms, this condition is something to be dealt with sooner rather than later. That said, dry eyes can occur for a multitude of reasons, so it may take a while before you get to the root of your eye problems and get the necessary treatment. Here are some of the most common causes of dry eyes you should be aware of and tips on how to fix it.
Natural aging process
As we grow older, our eyes become more susceptible to the dry eye syndrome. In fact, aging has been regarded as the highest risk factor for developing this common condition. If you are 50 years of age or older, you’re more likely to suffer from this condition.
The reason why dry eyes are more common in individuals who are 50 years or older is the decreased tear production. What happens is the individual becomes unable to produce tears which play a vital role in lubricating the eye and making sure everything is running smoothly.
Other than the natural aging process, hormonal changes can also contribute to individuals developing dry eyes. This is especially true during periods in a woman’s life when her hormone levels naturally shift, such as during pregnancy or menopause. Seeing a doctor for dry eye treatment inevitably becomes a health-must at some point in many women’s lives.
In fact, females in general are more likely to suffer from this condition than males. Many women also tend to use contraceptive pills, which is another big risk factor that could lead to decreased tear production.
Lifestyle and environment factors
There’s no denying that both our environment and our lifestyle differs a lot from what it was like several decades ago. All this can have a tremendous impact on our eye health. So, what’s exactly changed?
For starters, we’re spending more time in front of screens, with many of us working computer jobs that contribute to poor blinking habits. Many of us are also eating a monotonous, nutrient-poor diet lacking vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids. Finally, we are spending the majority of our time in a dry indoor environment, which only contributes to the development of the dry eye syndrome.
Certain medical conditions
Another big risk factor for dry eyes syndrome is the presence of a medical condition. This is particularly true when it comes to conditions such as collagen vascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjorgen’s syndrome. All these illnesses affect tear production, resulting in decreased ability of the body to produce adequate amounts of aqueous fluid.
Other medical conditions that may cause an individual to develop dry eyes include thyroid problems, allergic eye disease, Graves’ disease, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, and lupus.
It’s not only medical conditions that can increase an individual’s risk of developing dry eyes. Certain medications and drugs may also cause dry eyes and result in a range of uncomfortable symptoms. These include:
· birth control
· medications for Parkinson’s disease
· high blood pressure medicines
· HRT or hormone replacement therapy
· certain medications for managing heart conditions
Tips for treating dry eyes
Because there are so many possible causes of dry eyes, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fixing it. A thorough, detailed consultation with your eye doctor will help them determine what’s causing dry eyes in your particular case. After that, they’ll be able to recommend the best suitable treatments and remedies. These may include:
· taking supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids to increase tear production
· avoiding triggers such as allergens, wind, cigarette smoke, and the like
· practicing the 20/20/20 break rule whenever you’re using screens
· using warm eye compresses to ease dry eye symptoms
· applying eye ointments at night
· undergoing temporary punctal occlusion
· using medical devices to address blocked eyelid glands
· making modifications to your diet
· using artificial tears
· treating medical conditions associated with dry eyes syndrome
From blurred vision to constant itching to burning sensation, dry eye symptoms can be quite unpleasant. The good news is that it’s possible to manage this common condition with adequate care.
Talk to your ophthalmologist as soon as you start experiencing dry eye symptoms. The sooner you identify the cause, the sooner you’ll be able to address the underlying problem and return to your everyday activities sans disruptions.