Getting to the root of dry eye problems is imperative to achieving relief from the uncomfortable symptoms. However, the causes of dry eyes are wide-ranging. If you do not know for sure what is causing your dry eye, read on as Dr. Ernest Kornmehl reveals five possible culprits.
1. A Pre-existing Medical Condition
Certain medical conditions increase the likelihood of developing dry eye disease. These include the following:
- Thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome
- Problems that prevent the eyelids from blinking the way they should or closing completely
2. Side Effect of Medications
Another common reason why dry eye symptoms can occur is as a side effect of medications like antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants and birth control pills. These medications are known to reduce tear production.
3. Excessive Screen Time
Staring at a computer, television or smartphone screen for hours at a time slows down blink rate, which can dry out the eyes. Blinking spreads the oily layer of the tear film over the ocular surface to prevent the tears from evaporating, and when you do not blink enough, your tears may evaporate rapidly.
4. Environmental Factors
The climate you live in can also contribute to dry eye symptoms. Dry, arid or windy environments can cause tears to evaporate rapidly. Smoke, exposure to secondhand smoke and dust are known to irritate and dry out the eyes. Air blowing in your face while driving, or forced air in your home can also cause dry eye symptoms.
Lastly, dry eye is often an unavoidable result of the aging process. Most people over the age of 65 experience dry eye symptoms. This is particularly true in women as they undergo age-related hormonal shifts during menopause. Changes in hormone levels during menopause can lead to a deficiency in tear quantity or quality.
Schedule a Dry Eye Evaluation With Dr. Kornmehl
If you are experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kornmehl. During the evaluation, he will review your medications, pre-existing conditions and other health or lifestyle factors that may play a role in dry eye disease. A comprehensive examination of your eyes will be conducted to confirm or rule out other reasons why your eyes may be dry and irritated. Then, Dr. Kornmehl can create a treatment plan specific to your ocular needs.
To request an appointment with Dr. Kornmehl, please call or email our practice today.