What is dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease (or dry eye syndrome) is a condition that occurs when an eye does not produce enough tears, or when tears evaporate too quickly. Tears are necessary for keeping the eye healthy and comfortable. When the eye does not have enough tears, it can become dry, irritated, and uncomfortable. Dry eye disease is a common condition, and it can happen to anyone. Dry eye syndrome can be a minor annoyance or it can be a major problem. If it is not treated, it can lead to serious damage to the eye.
What are the symptoms of dry eye disease?
- Stinging eyes
- Burning eyes
- A scratchy feeling in the eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
- Red eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye fatigue
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Feeling like something is in your eye
- Blurry vision
Who experiences dry eye disease?
Anyone can experience dry eyes, but it is most common in:
- People over the age of 40
- Those who have a family history of dry eye disease
- People who wear contact lenses
- Those who spend a lot of their time looking at screens
What causes dry eye disease?
There are many different things that can cause dry eye syndrome, such as certain medications, environmental factors, and health conditions. Some of the most common causes of dry eye disease include:
- Age: Dry eye syndrome is more common as you get older.
- Genetics: Some people are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome than others, due to their family history.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to air pollution, smoke, and other toxins can increase your risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
- Eye disease: Dry eye syndrome can be a sign of other eye diseases, such as glaucoma or cataracts.
- Pandemic dry eye disease is a phenomenon that has appeared during the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of increased screen time, prolonged contact lens use, increased stress levels, and airflow from ill-fitting masks has led to an increase in people experiencing dry eye syndrome.
Do I have dry eye disease?
Just because your eyes feel dry, does not necessarily mean that you suffer from dry eye disease. Click here for the steps to booking a dry eyes consultation with one of our optometrists.