Keratoconjunctvitis sicca is commonly known to lay people as dry eye syndrome. This is a condition where either not enough tears are produced by the tear ducts or the tears that are produced are of an inferior quality. High quality tears are essential for lubrication and to protect from infection or inflammation. There are several underlying causes that may be linked to experiencing the condition.
The first is age. Some lessening of tear production is expected past the of sixty five. More people do experience symptoms than those who do not by the time people have reached their upper sixties. This type of dryness is an expected part of growing older. Applying drops in the morning and evenings as part of a health care ritual may ease any discomfort experienced.
Gender is also a factor since women tend to experience hormonal fluctuations more frequently than adult men, though it is possible in both genders. Events such as menopause or pregnancy can both contribute. The changes to estrogen levels may cause dryness and itch that can be alleviated with over the counter drops.
Some medications reduce the amount of tears produced naturally as a side effect. Cold medicines often cause this side effect, but it is easily missed when people are already suffering from a head cold. Blood pressure medications and antidepressants have also been known to contribute to drying eyes.
Another underlying factor might be the development of certain medical conditions. Thyroid disease, insulin changes such as diabetes and the onset of rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions that can result in lowered tear production. This is one of the reasons that it may be a good idea to mention changes to ocular lubrication to your doctor. He or she can check for underlying causes.
Sometimes the problem begins with inflammation of the eyelid. The purpose of the eyelid is to protection and to spread tears to keep the area well lubricated. Problems can arise if the eyelids turn inward or outward. Check eyelids for redness, swelling or tenderness to the touch. Another possible cause is an inflammation on the surface itself.
External factors that can cause dryness and discomfort include living in a dry climate and staring at a computer monitor for long periods of time. Blinking frequently and adding humidity to the air are two things you can do to help yourself avoid dry eye syndrome. Some people experience symptoms from being in air conditioned buildings. If you experience mild discomfort, add drops to your daily self care routine. If the discomfort intensifies, it may be wise to see your doctor for a check up.
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