Dry eye is a common condition worldwide. While advancing age and computer use have been linked to dry eye, there are other causes and contributory factors. It is often a combination of factors responsible for the condition.
The tear film is a complex environment and is made mostly of water and a natural oil called meibum. Some people experience dry eyes because they lack the water component – meaning there are simply not enough tears to spread across the eye. Others have poor meibum which causes the tears to evaporate too quickly. In most cases, dry eye is a combination of both of these factors.
There are other contributing factors to dry eyes:
These factors can all contribute to stinging, sore and dry eyes. Unfortunately we can’t do much about aging but we can often make changes to our environment and lifestyle. Hostile environments which make matters worse are:
Unfortunately dry eye is typically a chronic problem and can’t be cured. It can be effectively managed however with treatment, usually needed on an ongoing basis.
The first step to managing dry eyes is determining the cause. Seeing an Optometrist is an excellent first step for diagnosing and managing dry eye.