Dry eye syndrome (or simply dry eye) is caused when the surface of your eye is not sufficiently lubricated or when your tears are inconsistent and evaporate too quickly. You may also experience inflammation on the surface of your eye which, if left untreated, can cause pain, ulcers, corneal scars and vision problems.
What Causes Dry Eye?
There are several things that can cause dry eye, including:
- Certain medications. Nasal decongestants, antihistamines, blood pressure medication, and anti-depressants are among the medications that contribute to dry eye.
- Pregnancy. Dry eye is prevalent in pregnant women due to hormonal changes, particularly a drop in male hormones.
- LASIK surgery patients. Dry eye can occur after you’ve had refractive surgery, and it can last anywhere from three to six months, or sometimes longer.
- Vitamin deficiency. Vitamins are responsible for helping to make tears, so a lack of vitamins can increase the risk of dry eye, especially when it comes to vitamin A, folate and vitamin B-6.
- Hormone replacement therapy. Women on HRT are more likely to have dry eye symptoms, more so in women who are taking estrogen only versus those who are taking both estrogen and progesterone.
- Staring at a computer screen. Computer use can cause dry eye because you’re likely to blink less when looking at your screen for long periods of time.
- Conjunctiva inflammation. When the membrane that lines your eyelid and covers part of your eye (called the conjunctiva) becomes inflamed, it’s called conjunctivitis, and dry eye is a symptom of this condition.
What You Can Do
To combat dry eye, consider the following treatments:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears, gels or ointments
- Eyewear that wraps around the face or with side shields
- Humidifier to add moisture to the air
- Air purifier to filter out dust and particles
If your dry eye is severe, it’s best to visit your eye doctor. He or she may prescribe eye medication or outpatient treatment to help your eyes produce more tears.
To learn more about detecting and treating dry eye or for questions regarding our services, contact our office or call 208.342.5151 in Meridian or 208.459.0717 in Caldwell. We look forward to hearing from you!