Chronic Dry Eye and YOU

by on November 16th, 2010
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Chronic Dry Eye? I don’t know about “chronic” but I gotta tell you – there are some mornings when I wake up that my eyes are so dry I just about have to pry them open. Or during the day my eyes get so dry I want to give each eye a shot of WD40 or something. Fortunately the condition is usually temporary and easily resolved with a drop or two of artificial tears. Not everyone is so lucky though when it comes to Chronic Dry Eye.

What it is

Chronic Dry Eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is a medical condition and can be caused by any number of things: age, contact lens wear and even as a reaction to some medications. Basically Chronic Dry Eye is caused by a lack of or decrease in the amount of tears. As a result people with CDE often deal with continuous discomfort that manifests itself in the form of irritation, inflammation or the feeling that there’s something in the eye.

A Few Words About Tears

Tear drops are the body’s natural eye protectors. Think about it: tears not only wash away dust and dirt but tear drop also sooth the eyes. The site Glaucoma Clinical.com goes as far as saying that tear drops provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea as well as helping against eye infection. So you can see right away that the lack of or depletion of tears is not a good thing. And if you don’t believe me, check out your local pharmacy and see how many products exist for eye care.

Causes

Chronic Dry Eye can be caused by several factors. According to Lighthouse.org, a common cause of Chronic Dry Eye is aging. As we age we create less productive tears which mean less moisture to the eyes.

Further more, environmental factors can also play a factor in eyes drying up: dusty air, dry or windy weather and even cigarette smoke can evaporate tears much speedily or hamper their effectiveness. This is especially a cause for dry eyes in contact lens wearers as the lenses absorb lubrication.

And it goes without saying that people who watch a lot of television or use a laptop for hours on end have a higher tendency to suffer from CDE. This is due to straining of the eyes and infrequent blinking and tear formulation.

Chronic Dry Eyes and You

Testing for CDE can be performed through several methods. According to WebMD.com, one of the simplest methods – Schirmer’s Test – is performed by placing a small piece of filter paper inside the lower part of the eyelids. The eyes are closed for a few minutes and taken out to measure the amount of tear production. The Schirmer’s test can determine if there is difficulty in tear production or if the tears are not efficient in maintaining eye health.

It stands to reason that a little common sense can be the best preventive medicine when it comes to Chronic Dry Eyes. Don’t stay glued to your laptop for hours and hours on end and consider switching from contacts to eye glasses during your workday. And get enough rest! It all adds up to healthier vision.


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