Dry Eye Risk Factors
Dry eye is an uncomfortable condition that is the result of insufficient tear production or poor quality tears, either one of which prevents the eyes from getting the lubrication they need. Dry eye can cause symptoms such as burning, itching, redness, sensitivity to light, and even blurred vision.
Dry eye can affect anyone, but there are certain dry eye risk factors that make a person more susceptible to this eye disease. The experienced eye doctors at Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry warn our patients of the practices and characteristics that can increase their risk of dry eye. To learn more, read on, and then contact our practice serving La Jolla, CA, Carmel Valley, CA, and San Diego, CA.
Like many other eye diseases, dry eye is commonly linked to aging. As a person ages, the tissues and muscles within the body begin to naturally break down, making complications more likely. Tear production seems to diminish most notably around the age of 50, which makes dry eye a particular risk for those aged 50 and older.
Both men and women can suffer from dry eye, but the condition is more common in females. While women are naturally more prone to dry eye, their risk increases even further if they have experienced hormonal changes related to the use of birth control medication, pregnancy, or menopause.
The Use of Certain Medications
There are numerous medications that increase the risk of dry eye for our patients. Some medications that are known to make dry eye more likely include birth control, antihistamines, antidepressants, and some acne medications. In many cases, the use of these medications is unavoidable. Individuals who must rely on medications that are known to increase the risk of dry eye should use artificial tears, as needed, to keep the eyes lubricated.
Certain Medical Conditions
Just as some medications can make a person more susceptible to dry eye, so do some medical conditions. While the exact reason for the link is not known, dry eye is more common among people who suffer from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid conditions, among others.
A diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients is key to maintaining good overall health. Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids are especially beneficial to eye health and the production and quality of tears. If a person’s diet lacks vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acids, the risk of dry eye will be greater. Our patients can increase their intake of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids by choosing foods like carrots, liver, broccoli, fish, and nuts.
Prolonged Screen Time
In today’s society, many people spend hours at a time in front of a computer or cell phone screen. Prolonged screen time can strain the eyes and increase the risk of dry eye or exacerbate dry eye symptoms. To minimize the risk of dry eye associated with screen time, we suggest that people follow the 20-20-20 rule, which advises people to take a break from the screen every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
With diagnosis and treatment, dry eye symptoms can be controlled so that the condition does not impact comfort or vision. If you suspect that you are suffering from dry eye and would like to learn about potential treatment options, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call the experienced doctors at Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry at (858) 454-4699. We serve patients in La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and other areas of San Diego, CA.