As they get older, people tend to make fewer tears due to hormonal changes. Both men and women alike are susceptible to dry eye, however it is more common in women; especially those who have gone through menopause.
Dry eye can also be caused by:
Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, and lupus
- Blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red)
- Entropion (when eyelids turn in);
- Ectropion (eyelids turn outward)
- Time spent in smoke, wind or a very dry climate
- Looking at a computer for a long time (reduced blinking)
- Using contact lenses for a long time
- Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
- Taking certain medicines, such as:
- Diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure
- Beta-blockers, for heart problems or high blood pressure
- Allergy medicines (antihistamines)
- Sleeping pills
- Anxiety medicines
Make sure to tell your ophthalmologist at Eye Care Associates about all the prescription and non-prescription medicines you take.
Adding tears as an option
Ophthalmologists often tell patients to use artificial tears, which are eye drops that are like a patient’s own tears. Artificial tears can be used as often as needed and can be purchased without a prescription.
For patients who need to us artificial tears more than six times a day or are allergic to preservatives, preservative-free tears are recommended. If the tears that are used extensively, the chemicals may start to irritate eyes.
Ophthalmologists may also suggest blocking tear ducts as an option for dry eyes. This procedures makes a person’s natural tears stay in their eyes longer. Tiny silicone or gel plugs (called punctal plugs) can be inserted into the tear ducts, and they can be removed later as needed.
Increasing your tears
Special eye drop medications are sometimes prescribed to help eyes make more of their own tears.
Treating dry eye culprits
If your eyes are irritated, our ophthalmologists can treat those problems. They may recommend:
- Prescription eye drops or ointments
- Warm compresses on the eyes
- Massaging your eyelids
- Certain eyelid cleaners