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Symptoms

dry 20red 20itchy 20eyeThe effects of dry eye vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms experienced are as follows:

  • irritated, scratchy, uncomfortable eyes
  • feeling of a foreign body or “piece of sand” in the eye
  • redness, burning
  • blurred vision
  • excessive tearing or watery eyes
  • eyes that lack the normal luster or shine

Dry eye is most often the result of the natural aging process. More than 75% of people age 65 and older are affected by dry eyes. Women are more commonly affected, In particularly during menopause, due to the hormonal changes occurring throughout the body. In addition to age, dry eye can result from any of the following conditions:

  • problems with normal blinking (associated with computer use)
  • certain medications such as antihistamines for allergies (Claritin), hormone therapy (Premarin, birth control), and antidepressants (Zoloft)
  • environmental factors such as dry climate and exposure to wind
  • pregnancy
  • smoking
  • general health problems such as diabetes, acne rosacea, arthritis, Sjogrens syndrome
  • contact lens wear
  • refractive surgery – LASIK

 

Excessive dry eye can damage eye tissue and possibly scar the cornea, the transparent front covering of the eye. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eye, but treatments are available to ease the discomfort. Certain lifestyle changes can help to alleviate the symptoms. Decreasing the consumption of caffeine and cigarettes, keeping hydrated by drinking water, using a humidifier at home or work, avoiding wind and dust, and trying to blink more frequently when reading or focusing for an extended period of time may reduce the effects of dry eyes.