In some cases, dry eyes can be caused by things like your environment or uncomfortable contacts. In other cases, it can be a chronic issue that is a sign of underlying health problems or bodily changes. If you can recognize the symptoms of dry eye, you can start to readily address it and find solutions to restore comfort.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is often due to decreased tear production. While we often associate tears with sadness and emotion, they actually serve a very useful purpose that keeps us happily comfortable. Tears are made up of several substances, including water, that acts as a defense against infections and keeps the surface of the eye moist and clear. When there are not enough tears, the chance of infection increases and the sufferer experiences discomfort. The proper medical name for this condition is keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
What Causes Dry Eye?
There are a number of factors that can lead to reduced tear production. One very common reason is age. Our bodies change as we get older and unfortunately, some of those changes are unpleasant. One of those transformations may be a drop (no pun intended) in how many tears are produced.
Underlying health conditions can also lead to dry eyes. If you suffer from diabetes, thyroid disorders, or rheumatoid arthritis you may be at risk of dry eyes. A vitamin A deficiency may also be the culprit. Humans are complex organisms, and oftentimes an issue in one area can spill over to cause problems in other areas.
Laser eye surgery is another common culprit. While LASIK is a safe procedure, like any operation there are potential side effects. One of these pesky side effects is dry eyes for some time after the procedure. Dry eyes can also be caused by any number of medications – a frustrating scenario where addressing one problem leads to a new problem.
Environmental Factors That May Be Causing Dry Eyes
Your chronic dry eyes may be caused by environmental factors in places where you spend a significant amount of your time, like work or home. If you often work outside, wind can be one cause. Smoke can also lead to dry eyes, so if you are a regular smoker and are starting to experience discomfort in the eyes you may want to reconsider the habit. Dry air is another possible reason, so if you keep the air conditioner on full blast throughout the summer you may want to turn it down a touch.
There are also situations where dry eyes are not caused by your environment or other health issues, but simply because of a problem with the eyes. For instance, your meibomian glands may be clogged. This is something that can be detected and treated by an ophthalmologist.
This is why regular eye exams are of the utmost importance. Seemingly unsolvable pesky problems can be solved by an eye care professional who can detect the problem during a routine exam. Give us a call at Davidorf to book an appointment at our West Hills or Los Angeles locations.