What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is an eye condition that occurs when the surface of the eye is not lubricated properly. This chronic lack of moisture can lead to consequences ranging from eye irritation to inflammation. This can also cause scars on the surface of the eye. 

Dry eye syndrome is also known as dry eye or dry eye disease. Following are some other alternative medical terms used to describe this syndrome: 

  • Keratitis sicca (inflammation and dryness of the cornea)
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye affecting both the conjunctiva and the cornea) 
  • Dysfunctional tear syndrome (inadequate quality and quantity of tears) 

Prevalence Of Dry Eye 

Dry eye is one of the most common eye disorders. Studies show that the prevalence of this disease ranges from 5% to 50%. Following are the risk factors for dry eye disease: 

  • Female sex 
  • Computer use 
  • Advanced age 

Symptoms Of Dry Eye 

Following are the symptoms of dry syndrome: 

  • Burning sensations
  • Aching sensations
  • Dryness sensations
  • Itchy eyes  
  • Fatigued eyes 
  • Heavy eyes 
  • Sore eye 
  • Red eyes 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Photophobia 

Foreign body sensation is also a symptom of this eye condition. You might feel that there is some object in your eye. This may sound a little odd, watery eyes is also a symptom. Watery eyes occur when the dry surface of the eye activates a protective mechanism by over-stimulating the production of the watery component of the tears. However, this cannot lubricate your eyes for long enough. 

Keep in mind that dry eye syndrome can cause permanent damage to the eye’s surface. So, when you notice any of these symptoms, book an appointment with an optometrist in Newport Beach.      

Causes Of Dry Eye Disease 

To keep your eyes healthy and comfortable, there should be a consistent layer of adequate tears on the eye’s surface. This layer does not only keep your eyes moist but also prevent damage to the cornea by washing away debris, dust and microorganisms. 

Following are important components of a tear film: 

  1. An oily component
  2. A watery component
  3. A mucous-like component

The oily component increases lubrication by keeping the film from evaporating. Similarly, the two components also have respective purposes to serve. 

  • Meibomian glands present in the eyelids produce the oily component. 
  • Lacrimal glands produce the watery component. 
  • Goblet cells in the conjunctiva produce the mucous-like component. 

Factors Increasing The Risk Of Dry Eye Syndrome 

Following are the factors that can affect the production of the components of the film and cause dry eye syndrome: 

  • We blink our eyes less frequently and less fully while staring at a computer, smartphone or any other digital device. As a result, the risk of dry eye symptoms is high due to greater tear evaporation. 
  • Wearing contact lenses can also increase the risk of dry eye syndrome. 
  • The risk of dry eye syndrome is high after the age of 50. 
  • The risk is high in post-menopausal women. 
  • Forced air heating, ceiling fans and air conditioning systems often decrease indoor humidity and can cause dry eye symptoms. 
  • Dry or windy conditions and arid climates can also increase dry eye risks. 
  • As the air in airplanes is extremely dry, frequent flying can cause eye problems such as dry eyes. 
  • Smoking does not only causes dry eyes but various other serious eye problems as well such as uveitis, cataracts and macular degeneration. 
  • Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid-associated diseases and diabetes are some of the diseases that can contribute to dry eye.
  • Birth control pills, certain blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and antihistamines are some of the prescription and nonprescription medicines that can increase the risk of this eye condition. 
  • Eyelids not closing completely while blinking or sleeping can also cause dry eye syndrome and other serious eye conditions. 

You should see the best optometrist in Newport Beach if you feel that your eyes are not being lubricated properly. Not treating this condition on time can cause serious eye problems.