Why do some people experience dry eyes? There are several reasons, including allergies, immune system disorders, and having LASIK surgery.
Dry eyes may also be a side effect of taking certain medications such as antihistamines, birth control pills and/or antidepressants.
Skin diseases on or near a person’s eyelids can cause dry eyes. Also, when glands in the eyelids get diseased, that can lead to dry eyes as well.
Women who are pregnant or who take estrogen and/or progesterone pills may experience dry eyes.
Staring at computer screens for long periods of time with infrequent blinking can contribute to dry eye symptoms. So can wearing contact lenses long-term, being exposed to drafty air conditions from air conditioning or heating, and/or irritants like chemical fumes or tobacco smoke.
Dry eyes can be a temporary or chronic condition. Generally, elderly people are more likely to get dry eyes compared to younger people, though it can happen to anybody at any age. Just for the record, women are more likely than men to have dry eye problems.
How can you avoid dry eye problems? Consult your ophthalmologist for professional advice and/or treatment if needed. Fixes might include trying different contact lenses and/or reducing the amount of hours you wear lenses. Maybe you’ll switch medications. Perhaps adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet will help. Of course, over-the-counter products like artificial tears, gel inserts and ointments can offer temporary relief, but are not a real solution. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air around you helps, too. In more extreme and chronic cases, an eye doctor may need to insert punctal plugs (these are painless) or do a simple surgery (called punctal cautery) to close drainage holes in order to keep tears on your eyes.