Dry eye syndrome is a relatively common condition but one that can be misunderstood. Because it can be described as a chronic problem, dry eye syndrome may be thought of as a condition in which the eyes feel dry and gritty and irritated all the time. That’s not how dry eye syndrome works. In many cases, people who are affected by this condition have bouts of symptoms, some of them so severe that they must take a break from what they are doing to let the eyes rest. There are ways to manage the symptoms of dry eye. There are even ways to decrease the frequency and intensity of symptoms. But first, one must understand what is triggering their symptoms. We discuss that here.
Common Causes of Dry Eye
Dry Eye may be caused by one or more different factors, such as:
- Computer use. We’ll be honest; the eyes aren’t made for staring at a screen for hours on end. When we are staring at screens, we don’t blink as often as we should. We have to blink, though, to spread the tear film across the eye. When combined with other factors, computer use can exacerbate dryness by preventing the tear film from spreading. To remedy this, it is beneficial to take frequent breaks from computers and digital devices just to close the eyes for a few moments.
- Sometimes, the air is drier than is healthy for the eyes, nose, and skin. If you add wind to dry air, whether that air is hot or cold, you have the perfect recipe for dry eyes. In this situation, the eyes are dry because the tears are evaporating too quickly. Over-the-counter eye drops may resolve the issue. If this does not stop dry eye symptoms, another factor could be occurring simultaneously.
- This eye condition often coincides with others, such as dry air, to intensify the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Blepharitis is inflammation that relates to a blockage in the meibomian glands of the eyes. These are the oil glands that support a healthy tear film. Blepharitis may be managed by applying a warm, moist cloth to the eyes and using eye drops. An ophthalmologist may also provide treatment to achieve more significant improvement.