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May 20th, 2015

Dry Eye Syndrome

In Australia, approximately 20% of the adult population suffers from dry-eye.[i] While dry-eye syndrome is more common among females, it is becoming a more frequent issue with both sexes as we increasingly expose ourselves to more pollution, air conditioners, artificial lights, computer screens, and contact lenses.

What is dry-eye?

Dry-eye syndrome, also referred to as dry eye disease, dysfunctional tear syndrome, lacrimal keratoconjunctivitis, chronic dry eye, and evaporative tear deficiency occurs when an insufficient amount of tears are produced by the eye, or when tears evaporate too quickly. This lack of tear-production can cause inflammation on the surface of the eye, resulting in discomfort and possibly leading to scarring of the cornea and temporary vision loss. The cornea relies on the tear film to maintain a moist front surface which in turn provides comfort and clear vision. An inadequate tear film therefore results in discomfort and blurry vision, in addition to other complications such as, infections, styes, the inability to wear contact lenses, and in rare cases, corneal nerve damage.[ii]

Symptoms of dry-eye include:

  • Stinging, burning, or redness of the eye
  • Gritty or scratchy feeling in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light

What Causes dry eye?

Although in most cases dry-eye is caused by insufficient tear production caused by dysfunction of the tear glands in the eyelids, there are several other factors that can contribute to this condition, such as contact lenses, which absorbs moisture, as well as certain medications (e.g., birth control pills, anti-depressants, antihistamines), and over-exposure to air conditioners and dry environments.[iii]

  • Dry-eye can be prevented by avoiding or limiting the following:
  • Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Too much time in air-conditioned rooms
  • Wind
  • Dust
  • The use of allergy medications that may cause dryness
  • Long hours of computer use
  • Extended amount of time wearing contact lenses

Treatments:

While there isn’t a cure for dry-eye syndrome, there are certainly many existing treatments for dry-eye syndrome that can alleviate the discomfort and associated complications.

Dry-eye syndrome is especially most common among those over 50, therefore, if symptoms start to surface, it is important to take immediate action to find the right solution for you.

Visit your local Prevue Eyewear store for a consultation with your optometrist. You’ve only got one pair of eyes, so protect them, keep them hydrated, and book an appointment today!


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[i] “Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) | MyVMC.” MyVMC. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2014. <http://www.myvmc.com/diseases/dry-eye-syndrome-keratoconjunctivitis-sicca/>.

[ii] “Facts About Dry Eye.” National Eye Institute. N.p., Aug. 2009. Web. 15 Sept. 2014. <https://www.nei.nih.gov/health/dryeye/dryeye>.

[iii] Image Description. Better Health Channel Logo End Of Image Description. “  Dry Eye.” Better Health Channel (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 08 Sept. 2014. <http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcpdf.nsf/ByPDF/Dry_eye/$File/Dry_eye.pdf>.