Are You at Risk for Dry Eye Syndrome?

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Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 by Dr. Robert Mack

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes cannot produce enough tears or do not produce tears with optimal properties, causing them to evaporate too quickly or fail to lubricate the eyes properly. Although dry eye syndrome is often associated with aging, there are other factors that may put you at higher risk for this condition as well. If you experience dry eye symptoms in Hoffman Estates, your next step should be to contact your ophthalmologist for an exam to determine the cause of your dry eyes and which treatments are best for you.

Hormonal Changes

Dry eye syndrome has been linked to hormonal changes in women, particularly an increase in the amount of estrogen in the body. Women who are pregnant or undergoing hormone replacement therapy are at higher risk for developing dry eyes. Furthermore, women who are taking estrogen only as part of a hormone replacement therapy program are at particularly high risk for experiencing dry eye symptoms.

Medications

Dry eye symptoms may occur as a side effect when you are taking medication for an unrelated health concern. The most common medications that cause dry eyes include antihistamines and nasal decongestants, birth control medication, and some types of antidepressant medication and high blood pressure medication. Before starting any medication, check to see whether dry eyes are indicated as a side effect. Notifying your ophthalmologist when you begin any medication known to cause dry eyes can help you take preemptive steps to combat the discomfort and blurred vision that may result.

Injuries, Allergies and Disease

You may develop dry eyes as a result of an injury or disease. Injuries that affect the membranes lining the eyelids often cause the development of dry eye symptoms. Chronic allergies can also result in dry eyes and associated discomfort. Additionally, diseases and infections such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren’s syndrome, as well as recurring episodes of conjunctivitis, may also affect the eyes’ ability to produce high-quality tears and result in the symptoms of dry eyes.