Dry, itchy or irritated eyes can develop for many reasons. Sometimes the root cause is obvious: for instance, a long day spent staring at a computer screen with few breaks can leave your eyes feeling worse for the wear. More commonly, the underlying cause of dry eyes is harder to identify because there are many factors at play.
Read on as the team at Vista Eye Specialists shares some of the potential factors that can cause or contribute to dry eye symptoms.
Some medications are known to reduce the number of tears the eyes produce or change the balance of the tears so they evaporate too quickly. Birth control pills and medications prescribed to regulate high blood pressure can decrease tear production. Another common culprit is allergy pills.
Paradoxically, even some eye drops can cause or contribute to dry eyes. Artificial tears are intended to keep the eyes moist, but some brands contain preservatives that can irritate certain people’s eyes.
Systemic diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis have been linked to dry eye symptoms. Thyroid disease is another health condition that can lead to the development of dry eyes or worsen symptoms.
Women are more likely to develop dry eye disease, particularly while experiencing fluctuations in hormone levels. For example, if you are taking oral contraceptives, expecting a baby or going through menopause, you may be prone to dry, uncomfortable eyes.
Living in an arid, smoky or windy climate increases the likelihood of experiencing dry eyes. The dry air from an air conditioner or heater can also be problematic.
Vision Correction Treatment
Dry eyes are a problem for some people who wear contact lenses. They are also a possible side effect after LASIK and other corneal refractive surgery (although dry eye symptoms after refractive surgery are usually temporary and resolve on their own).
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Many cases of dry eye disease occur due to problems affecting the meibomian glands, small eyelid glands that produce and secrete the oily layer of the tear film. If the glands become clogged or inflamed, it interrupts the balance of the tears, causing them to evaporate too quickly off the surface of the eyes.
Much-Needed Relief From Dry Eye Symptoms
With our team’s expertise and experience treating dry eyes, you do not need to suffer in silence. We will work with you to find the underlying cause or any medical or lifestyle factor(s) contributing to your symptoms. We will also discuss the available strategies to manage your dry eyes and help you maintain your ocular health.
To schedule an appointment with our dry eye team, please contact Vista Eye Specialists today.