Dry Eye Syndrome is a naturally occurring condition that results from a lack of moisture on the eyeball. Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), dry eye can often go long periods without diagnosis due to a variable degree of symptoms and a variety of causes. Specifically, California adults often experience the effects of dry eye syndrome due to an the arid climate in the region.
Typically, dry eye is the result of either a lack of adequate tear production in the eye or an inadequate quality of tears being produced. Although over 30% of Americans experience dry eye syndrome at some point in their life, usually the symptoms tend to be periodic. There are some causes of dry eye that can be identified and prevented:
Environment – high altitude, exposure to air conditioning, exposure to smoke and/or fumes
Medication Related- most commonly and especially antihistamines, but also including diuretics, antidepressants, sleeping pills, pain medication, cold & flu medication, and a variety of other prescription drugs.
Factors of Lifestyle – computer over usage, consistent wearing of contact lenses, hormonal changes, certain diet deficiencies
Ongoing Health Concerns – high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid complications, Parkinson’s disease, general aging
Symptoms & Signs of Dry Eye Syndrome
The manifestations of dry eye are often subtle, but noticing how often you experience the following symptomscan may help lead to positive diagnosis of the condition:
Constant itching and/or burning sensation
Feeling of grit within the eyelid or other appearance of “something in the eye”
Periodic and random blurred vision
Eye redness and/or extreme dryness of the eyeball
Unusual eye fatigue, and the presence of “heavy” eyelids
A consistent discharge from the eyes
Positively Influencing Dry Eye Syndrome
Consulting an Optometrist about your dry eye concerns is the best way to diagnose and treat and remedy any vision discomfort. Comprehensive eye exams2 are the best preventative way to treat dry eye syndrome1. There are however several methods to apply in the home and workplace to mitigate the effects of dry eye syndrome:
Investing in air purification and humidification. Using specialized equipment to filter the air quality of your home and keeping a humidity level between 50-60% will assist in curing dry eye syndrome.
Hydration! Along with many other positive side effects, drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day will keep the eyes hydrated and fight the symptoms of dry eye.
The use of prescription sunglasses outdoors will not only prevent debris, dust, and allergens from entering the eye cavity, but also protect the eyes from UV rays which can contribute to a dry eye experience.