03/02/2023

Dry Eyes: Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

Dry eye disease is a common condition whereby your tears can’t provide enough lubrication for your eyes. There are several reasons why tears can be inadequate and unstable. For example, Beverly Hills dry eyes may occur if you produce poor-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears. As such, this tea instability results in inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface. The good news is that treatments, including lifestyle changes and eye drops, can alleviate symptoms and make you more comfortable. Read on to learn more about dry eye disease.

What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

Dry eyes are uncomfortable since they may sting or burn. You may also feel a scratchy sensation in your eyes. Other symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Red eyes
  • Feeling like you have something in your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes; this is the body’s response to the irritation
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Eye fatigue or blurred vision
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

What causes dry eyes?

Dry eyes occur when there is a problem with any of the three layers making your tear film. These include aqueous fluid, fatty oils, and mucus; this combination keeps your eye surface lubricated, smooth, and clear. Tear film dysfunction may occur for various reasons, including autoimmune disease, hormone changes, inflamed eyelid glands, or allergic eye disease. You may also have dry eyes due to decreased tear production or increased evaporation. For example, you may experience dry eyes in situations such as in an air-conditioned room or riding a bike.

Decreased tear production

The inability to produce enough liquid tears or aqueous fluid can cause dry eyes. Below are common causes of decreased tear production.

  • Certain medical conditions. These include allergic eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, lupus, thyroid disorders, or vitamin A deficiency.
  • Aging.
  • Certain medicines. These include antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, and medication for high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Corneal neuralgia. This may be caused by nerve damage, laser eye surgery, or contact lenses. Symptoms of dry eyes resulting from laser surgery are usually temporary.

Increased tear evaporation may be due to

  • Blinking less often; tends to occur when concentrating during certain activities, such as driving, reading, or working at a computer. Conditions like Parkinson’s disease can also cause one to blink less often.
  • Eyelid problems
  • Eye allergies
  • Preservatives in eye drops
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Wind, smoke, or dry air

Risk factors for dry eyes

Your risk of having dry eyes is higher if you are older than 50 since tear production tends to diminish. Women are also susceptible to dry eye due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, or when using birth control pills. A diet low in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids also increases your risk of dry eye disease. Carrots, broccoli, and liver are rich in vitamin A while vegetable oils, walnuts, and fish contain omega-3 fatty acids. You are at risk of dry eye disease is also higher if you wear contact lenses or have a history of refractive surgery.

If you have dry eyes, request an appointment with your specialist at Beverly Hills Optometry: Advanced Dry Eye Center for treatment to improve your quality of life.