dry-eye-diseaseMost people experience days when their eyes feel irritated, dry and tired. But what do dry eyes really mean and what should one do if the condition persists? In fact, dry eye disease is one of the reasons why people visit an eye clinic.

Understanding dry eye disease

Tears are critical to visual performance and overall eye health. They lubricate the eye’s surface by washing away any foreign materials such as debris therein protecting the eye from preventable injury and infections. When the eye doesn’t produce the required amount of tears, then dry eye disease may occur.

Dry eye is a common chronic eye condition found in older adults though this is not to say that it cannot occur in younger individuals. The most common causes of this irritating eye condition include:

Natural Aging

This is mainly because of the endocrine changes that occur during menopause for women and past 50 for males.

Other Health Conditions

Health conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis can instigate dry eye disease.

Selected Medications

Medication such as antidepressants, antihistamines, antibiotics and birth control pills can trigger dry eye disease.

Reduced Blinking Frequency

When engaged in activities that require higher focus levels such as playing video games, target shooting, working on the computer, watching TV or plain old reading, this can lead to dry eye disease due to the fact that not enough tears are being produced.

It goes without saying that dry eye is very bothersome, not to mention uncomfortable. The symptoms vary with the extremity of the case, but itchiness, blurred vision, redness, light sensitivity and feeling like there’s dirt in the eye are the most common symptoms. Ironically, excessive tearing is another dry eye symptom, and this happens when the eyes produce more tears than required to compensate for the dry eyes.