It can feel terrible, even make you miserable, but chronic dry eye is a common problem that most of us will experience at some point, especially as we age. Chronic dry eye means that not enough tears are produced to keep our eyes comfortable, and studies show that it affects up to 30% of people 50 and older. If you’re female, Hispanic or Asian, the percentage is even higher.
Plus, with today’s addiction to video screens at every age – phones, computers, games, TV binge watching – chronic dry eye is affecting more people than ever.
In fact, many eye doctors report that dry eye, with its gritty, itchy and burning sensations, is the number one problem they see in the office, and they consider it serious. Dry eyes can be painful, disabling and can decrease your quality of life.
In just one day, we should blink about 12,000 times
For people with chronic dry eye, all that blinking can be irritating and painful. When reading, watching TV, or performing any task that requires close visual attention, we may not blink as often, causing our eyes to dry out due to tear evaporation.
Even more concerning, chronic dry eye can eventually damage the cornea, and you could end up with damaged vision.
Some patients with dry eye symptoms are ultimately diagnosed with arthritis, lupus or Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune attack on the body’s moisture-producing glands.
While we’ve all likely experienced the temporary symptoms of dry eyes due to smoke, wind, sun or too much time at the computer, dry eye syndrome is a serious condition that needs professional attention.
Some other things that can cause your eyes to be dry or become chronically dry — beyond age, gender and ethnic background — include:
- Laser eye surgery
- Hot, dry and cold climates
- Bike riding
- Contact lenses
- Vitamin A or Omega-3 fatty acids deficiencies
If you think your dry eye symptoms have become chronic, a comprehensive eye exam is the first step in diagnosing and effectively treating the condition. Call us today to schedule your eye exam: 561.338.7722.