The prevalence of dry eye syndrome increases with age. An estimated 3.2 million women age 50 and over and 1.68 million men age 50 and over are affected by dry eye syndrome.
Here are some risk factors for dry eye:
Aging- Advancing age is the single most important risk factor for Dry Eye. Most of our bodies moisture producing glands produce less and less moisture as we age.
Gender- Woman are twice as likely to suffer from dry eye than men. Changes is hormone levels throughout your lifetime often changes the amount of moisture produced by the lacrimal glands.
Medical problems- Several diseases result in increased risk for Dry Eye Syndrome: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Thyroid Abnormalities, Asthma, Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Lupus.
Medication- Certain medications can decrease the body's ability to produce lubricating tears- see our complete list of medications that can cause dry eye
Contact Lenses- Dry Eye is the leading cause of contact lens discomfort or intolerance.
Environmental Conditions- Exposure to smoke, fluorescent lights, air pollution, wind, heat, air conditioning, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation.
Computer Users- People who spend many hours staring at computer screens tend to blink significantly less often. Not blinking allows the eyes to dry out faster.
Refractive Surgery: Increases the risk of dry eye. Surgery often interferes with the superficial nerves on the cornea. Properly functioning nerves are necessary to help keep the eye surface moist.
Dry Eye can present in many different ways. You can have irritation (often presenting as a foreign body feeling on the eye surface), redness, burning, excessive tearing (yes that sounds counterintuitive but often presents this way) or intermittent blurring of vision.
You can see a complete explanation of the symptoms in this short video.
The only way to be sure your symptoms are truly a dry eye problem is to have a comprehensive exam by your Ophthalmologist or Optometrist. There are other problems such as allergic reactions, and blepharitis that can create similar symptoms so you need to be examined to see which of these issues is causing your symptoms.
To schedule your exam with our eye doctors please visit our website www.shoreeye.com to make an appointment at our office nearest you.