Factors Associated with Dry Eye Syndrome
Several factors can increase your risk of dry eyes. These include:
Computer use- When working at a computer or using a smartphone or other portable digital device, we tend to blink our eyes less fully and less frequently, which leads to greater tear evaporation and increased risk of dry eye symptoms.
Contact lens wear- Though it can be difficult to determine the exact extent that contact lens wear contributes to dry eye problems, dry eye discomfort is a primary reason why people discontinue contact lens wear.
Aging- Dry eye syndrome can occur at any age, but it becomes increasingly more common later in life, especially after age 50.
Menopause- Post-menopausal women are at greater risk of dry eyes than men of the same age.
Indoor environment- Air conditioning, ceiling fans and forced air heating systems all can decrease indoor humidity and/or hasten tear evaporation, causing dry eye symptoms.
Outdoor environment- Arid climates and dry or windy conditions increase dry eye risks.
Frequent flying- The air in the cabins of airplanes is extremely dry and can lead to dry eye problems, especially among frequent flyers.
Smoking- In addition to dry eyes, smoking has been linked to serious eye problems, including macular degeneration, cataracts and uveitis. (For details, see our infographic about why smoking is bad for your eyes.)
Health conditions- Certain systemic diseases — such as diabetes, thyroid-associated diseases, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome — contribute to dry eye problems.
Medications- Many prescription and nonprescription medicines — including antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications and birth control pills — increase the risk of dry eye symptoms.
Eyelid problems- Incomplete closure of the eyelids when blinking or sleeping — a condition called lagophthalmos, which can be caused by aging or occur after cosmetic blepharoplasty or other causes — can cause severe dry eyes that can lead to a corneal ulcer if left untreated.
Griffin Eye Center is a Dry Eye Center of Excellence. If you’re one of the nearly five million Americans with dry eyes and would like more information on dry eye visit www.griffineyecenter.com or schedule an appointment at 843-449-6414.