Dry eyes are a common ailment that can cause discomfort and interferes with daily activities like reading, driving, and working. Dry eyes occur when tears are not generated in sufficient amounts by the eye or they are produced but evaporate quickly. The tear film is in charge of moisturizing the eye’s surface and serving to shield it from germs and debris. Insufficient tears weaken this barrier’s effectiveness, causing redness, itchiness, burning sensations, and blurred vision. In most cases, Cyclosporine is widely used for treating Dry Eyes. So, let’s find out what are the common causes of dry eyes.
Environmental Factors Contributing to Dry Eyes
- Air conditioners can be a significant cause of dry eyes, as they lower the humidity in the air and result in moisture loss. Lack of moisture can make your eyes feel dryness and discomfort.
- The use of a laptop or phone has been linked to eye strain and fatigue due to its blue light emissions which are known to decrease tear production.
- Inflammation brought on by allergens like pet dander, pollen, or dust mite dander can aggravate the symptoms of dry eyes.
- Pollen is extremely irritating because it releases histamine, which leads to increased weeping that evaporates quickly and further reduces hydration for the surface of the eye.
Those who constantly use technology, such as laptops and phones, or have allergies, to combat the environmental causes that cause dry eyes, should consider
- Use lubricating drops throughout the day whenever needed
- Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors
- Avoid Smokey environments
- Keep windows closed during peak allergy season
- Washing sheets regularly if exposed to pet allergens
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Eat a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and walnuts
- Regular exercise and adequate sleep each night
Lifestyle Habits That May Worsen Dry Eyes
Wearing contact lenses
Wearing contact lenses regularly is a lifestyle habit that might make dry eyes worse. Contact lenses are made using plastic and take in moisture from your eyes, they are more likely dry out. This is especially true if you wear them continuously, don’t clean or replace them as directed, or wear them for long periods.
Additionally, if your contact lenses do not fit properly, they may cause friction and irritation in your eye, which can worsen dryness and discomfort. To help prevent this, make sure your contacts are always clean, apply lubricating drops throughout the day, note when they need to be replaced, and take regular breaks away from screens while wearing them.
Smoking is another potentially dangerous lifestyle risk, increases dry eye symptoms since it can reduce tear production and induce inflammation, which increases the rate at which tears currently on the eye’s surface evaporate. It raises free radicals in the body, which ultimately leads to decreased vision quality over time.
It not only causes more dryness but also produced more free radical in the body. Consequently, those who smoke regularly (or even rarely) must try using lubricating drops before bed to minimize any potential harm caused by smoking-related variables causing the formation of dry eyes.
Staring at screens
Staring at screens all day causes several health problems, including fatigue, neck pain, and headaches, but it also exacerbates cases of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). To combat these screen-related effects frequent breaks from looking at the computer or phone screens every 20 minutes, avoid using devices late at night, lower the brightness settings than usual, and wear special eyewear made to block blue-light emissions from digital displays.
Medical Conditions Linked to Dry Eyes
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a disease that causes decreased tear production. Because of this, the surface of the eyes loses too much moisture, which can irritate and discomfort. KCS symptoms include redness, itchiness, burning, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and the sensation of something stuck in your eye.
If ignored, it may also cause corneal damage, which could result in further issues like corneal ulcers and scarring. Treatment for KCS may involve prescribed drops or ointments, punctual plugs at the tear ducts that prolong the time tears remain on the surface of your eyes, IPL laser therapy or thermal pulsation treatment, which stimulate tear production and improve drainage from blocked glands, oral omega-3 supplements that may reduce inflammation brought on by dry eyes, among other treatments based on the specifics of each patient’s condition.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that worsens central vision as a result of the gradual loss of photoreceptors in the retina. This makes it difficult to see things properly unless you are directly staring at them. AMD increases risk of developing Dry Eye Syndrome due to its ability to produce inflammation around the delicate tissues necessary for a healthy visual system.
This typically results in reduced lubrication across surfaces involved in producing images that a person would be able to perceive properly without the aid of glasses, contacts, etc. Some ways to manage AMD symptoms such as using artificial tears frequently, avoiding contact lenses whenever feasible, wearing sunglasses outside to reduce the glare coming off objects you might be trying to view more closely, etc.
In autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakenly targets healthy cells in the body rather than attacking foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses. These disorders frequently involve chronic inflammation that increases the risk of developing Dry Eyes Syndrome because it can weaken protective barriers that keep lubricating substances needed to moisten surfaces of our eyeballs, thereby limiting the amount.
Medications that Can Cause Dry Eye Symptoms
Several medications might produce symptoms of dry eyes, so it’s vital to be aware of any possible side effects of any medications you may be taking. For example,
- Antihistamines can cause dry eyes by reducing tear production. Antihistamines block brain receptors typically realeasing tears when necessary.
- Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) decrease tear production due to their capacity to change the body’s hormonal levels.
- Acne treatments like Accutane include isotretinoin, which has been linked to decreased tear production and increased dryness of the surface of the eyeball in some recorded cases.
To combat these effects people should seek a doctor’s advice before beginning a new medication. They should also apply lubricating drops as needed during the day, wear wraparound sunglasses outside to prevent environmental variables from worsening symptoms and stay hydrated. Additionally, those who continue to feel uncomfortable despite taking the aforementioned measures may want to try out various contact lens options to see if they ease their discomfort. By doing this, people will be better able to determine which option will help them manage their particular case of dry eye syndrome.
Aging: The Natural Culprit Behind Dry Eyes
Aging is a natural process that can cause several physical changes, including the development of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). As we age, our eyes produce much fewer and lower-quality tears. Our eyes get less lubricated as a result, which causes dryness, irritability, and discomfort. Additionally, as we age, our eyelids may become less elastic or thinner, which further reduces tear production because there are fewer lubricating lipids in tears.
Regarding the aging-related causes of DES, the lack of antibacterial lipids also has a significant role. Antibacterial lipids are fatty acids that help in preventing inflammation and infection brought on by bacteria coming into contact with the surface of the eye. However, with age, these lipids tend to decrease, leading to increased chances of developing various types of infections, including conjunctivitis, among others. Therefore, people should take extra precautions to protect their vision from any potential harm caused by age-related deterioration.
These precautions include wearing glasses or sunglasses outside to reduce glare from the objects they’re trying to observe more closely, consulting a doctor if they experience symptoms like redness or itching around their eyes, and taking supplements with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 Fatty acids are also important for sexual health too. Consume a nutritious diet that is rich in the nutrients and important to maintain a healthy visual system, etc. To better understand what is the best option for them to manage their specific case of Dry Eye Syndrome, people who find themselves in persistent discomfort despite taking the aforementioned measures may want to try out various types of contact lenses to see if they reduce the irritation.