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Causes of Dry Eye Disease

Environment

The cold, dry and windy climate in Chicago is a major cause of dry eye disease in people during the winter. Dry eye symptoms can also be worsened with heat, high altitudes and UV exposure. Cigarette smoke, pollution in general, heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can all exacerbate dry eye disease.

Decreased blinking

In this world where so many of us use computers and smart devices, it is common to find that people have a decreased rate of blinking because of intense concentration. This is also found in those that read even from books or newspapers for hours at a time. This is commonly referred to as CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) and is associated with neck and back issues as well. The decreasedblink rate allows the tear film to dry out leading to discomfort. Treatment for CVS can be as simpleas closing your eyes for a few seconds every fifteen minutes.

Medications

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can lead to dry eyes or worsen symptoms. Allergy medications are known to dry all mucous membranes including the eyes. Antidepressants, sleep medications, anxiolytics, some medications for the treatment of high blood pressure, Parkinson's drugs, some types of birth control pills, and diuretics can all lead to a worsening of dry eye disease.

Contact Lens Wear

One of the most common reasons that people choose to have LASIK is that their contact lenses become uncomfortable due to dry eye disease. With an excess of two million individuals dropping their contact lens wear, about half give dryness or discomfort as their primary reason.

Diseases

Dry eyes is associated with a wide variety of autoimmune diseases including Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Sarcoidosis and Sjögren's diseases. Diabetes may also cause worsening of dry eye disease. Facial rosacea (excess of fine blood vessels on the superficial skin) is frequently associated with ocular rosacea. Ocular rosacea can lead to blepharitis which is commonly associated with dry eyes.

Laser Vision Correction

Everyone who has LASIK or PRK Laser Vision Correction has dry eyes afterwards for at least the first three to four months. We like to treat such patients prophylactically so as to avoid the typical problems. Many individuals have dry eyes postoperatively and this is most commonly, in our experience, due to the dry eyes preoperatively.

Aging and hormonal changes

The older that you become, the more likely it is that you are going to have problems with dry eyes. Women tend to have more trouble than men and post-menopausal women have more problems. Thyroid conditions can also lead to dry eyes.

If you think that you have dry eyes, give our office a call.