MISSION: END PREVENTABLE BLINDNESS

Why Am I Suffering from Dry Eye?

People suffer from dry eye when their eyes develop issues either with making enough tears or with making tears that evaporate too quickly. Dry eyes can sting and burn, and sufferers may experience the feeling that something is in the eye even where there isn’t, as well as blurred vision, heavy eyelids, redness, and even watery eyes.

While anyone can develop dry eye, some people are more likely to suffer from this condition than others. Some of the deciding factors include environment, profession, age, gender, medication use, and hobbies. Dry eye is most common among the following six groups of people.

The Medicated

More than ever, people turn to medications to improve their health and overall quality of life. Unfortunately, many medications increase the likelihood of developing dry eye. Chief among them is birth control, sleeping pills, antidepressants, pain relievers, antihistamines, and beta-blockers. So, check your medicine cabinet if you’re noticing dry eyes!

Gamers and Office Workers

Staring at screens for long periods of time without blinking also leads to dry eye. For this reason, people who play video games for long periods of time, and those who spend a lot of work hours on a computer, are more likely to develop dry eye. Make sure to take visual breaks while working with these devices.

People with Eye Health Problems

It should come as no surprise that having less than perfect eye health can cause people to develop dry eye. Contact lens wearers are far more likely to develop dry eye than those who wear glasses. Patients who choose to get treated with LASIK surgery can also develop a dry eye for up to six months after surgery. There have also been cases of the dry eye persisting for some time later.

Frequent Flyers

Traveling is great, but one unfortunate side effect of frequently traveling by plane is dry eye. This is caused by the extremely dry air in the cabins. People who wear contacts during the flight, and who spend a great deal of time staring at devices, are more likely to develop dry eye from flying. Let those eyes rest!

The Elderly

The older a person gets, the more likely they are to develop eye problems, including dry eye. Adults over 50 show a greater likelihood to develop dry eyes than their younger counterparts, often due to fluctuating hormones. Obviously, women are more often affected.


Women over 50 are the single group most likely to develop dry eye. This prevalence is related to menopause, but doctors do not fully understand the role menopause plays in causing dry eye. Unfortunately, hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopause, does not also treat dry eye.

In fact, studies show that menopause or not, women suffer from dry eye more than men to an alarming degree. Women have a higher likelihood to develop dry eye when taking birth control, when pregnant, and when going through menopause. More women also suffer from insomnia and depression than men, increasing their likelihood of taking sleeping pills and antidepressants, which are known for causing dry eyes.

Dry eye is an uncomfortable condition, claiming more women than men as its unhappy victims. Frequent flyers, contact wearers, people on certain medications, and those who spend a lot of time working with screens should pay close attention to their eye health and consult with their doctors if symptoms appear. My wife, Dr. Jenna, suffers from dry eye and it can be debilitating! Do you fit into any of the above groups of people? Have you noticed more dryness because of it? Let us know in the comments below!

 

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler

We would love for you to join our dry eye community. Click here to join this community and get our free 5-part video series on dry eye treatments, a $15 gift card for our Dry Eye Omega-3 Supplement, a $5 gift card for our Dry Eye Mask, and access to the community on Facebook

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