Dry eyes are a common and often chronic problem here in Colorado Springs, especially as we get older. A question we get asked alot is - what causes dry eyes? Before we talk about the causes, let’s talk about how the eyes work and why having tears is important for both eye health and vision.
Each time you blink, your eyelids are like windshield wipers. They take off the old tear film along with any dust or debris in your eye. Then when you open your eyes, the eye lids coat the eye with a new clear tear film that lubricates the eye as well as assists with the clarity of your vision. This is accomplished by glands that produce the different parts of the tear film that your eyelids coat the eye with.
Want some cool stats? On average you blink 15 - 20 times per minute. That’s 28,000 times per day or a whopping 10,512,000 a year! Talk about a workout!
What causes true chronic dry eyes is when the tear production decreases resulting in the tear film itself breaking down and exposing the eye to the elements. Dr. Lymer treats dry eyes with a variety of measures to ensure you can pursue the activities and hobbies you enjoy and be able to work without red, itchy, burning eyes.
Factors That Contribute to Dry Eyes
- Age - You are at a higher risk for dry eyes as you age. Dry eyes are generally part of the natural aging process resulting in most individuals over the age of 65 experiencing some symptoms of dry eyes.
- Gender - Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause. Certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.
- Medical Conditions - Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes. Blepharitis (mild infection or inflammation along the base of the eye lashes), as well as inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eyes to develop.
- Colorado - A big factor in Colorado Springs includes the great outdoors. It is so dry here that sometimes it feels like the moisture or tears are being sucked out of your eyes, especially on a windy day. Protecting your eyes with good sunglasses is key for outdoor activity.
- Computer Use - If you spend a great deal of time on a computer, that will also contribute to dry eyes, especially late into the evening. When we concentrate on something, such as a computer and what we are looking at, we blink less. When we blink less our eyes have a tendency to dry out faster.
- Contact Lens - Long-term use of contact lenses as well as refractive surgery, like LASIK, can result in having dry eyes.
Any Concerns or Questions, We Can Help
If you are experiencing dry eyes, call our office today or you can schedule online and text us from www.lymervision.com. Dr. Lymer will evaluate the health of your eyes and your vision to determine if you have dry eye syndrome as well as the appropriate treatment.