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Dry Eye Syndrome

May 4, 2008
Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition affecting your eyes. Dry Eyes may not be fully cured (always depending on the cause), but the accompanying dryness, scratchiness and burning of the eyes can eventually be managed and improved. What causes dry eyes at all? When being affected by dry eye syndrome, your eye doesn't produce enough tears. It could also be the case that the tears have a chemical composition that allows them to evaporate too quickly. Since tears "bathe" the eye, washing out dust and debris and keeping the eye moist, the fast evaporation stops or reduces the effectiveness of this process. Tears also contain enzymes that neutralize the microorganisms that colonize the eye - therefore the risk for eye infections can increase with dry eyes. As you can tell - tears are essential for good eye health.

Dry eye syndrome can have several causes. The dry eye syndrome occurs as a part of the natural aging process. Women are especially affected during during menopause - cause unknown at this point. Dry eyes can also be caused as a side effect of many common medications. Some of those medication connected to possibly causing dry eyes are antihistamines, antidepressants, a few blood pressure medicines, medication treating Parkinson's. Some birth control pills also seem to cause dry eyes among younger women. More natural causes are if you live in a dry, dusty or very windy climate. Air conditioning or forced air heating systems can also increase the dryness in your eyes. Computer workers are more often affected with having dry eyes than people only using a computer occasionaly.

If you are wearing contact lenses you could also suffer from dry eyes. However, contact lenses are also known to protect the surface of the eye from drying out too fast. As no eye is the same this might work for you, but not your spouse (just as an example). In general people with dry eyes have more problems wearing contact lenses. The industry has responded by making contact lenses that release a fluid or gel to the eye and therefore effectively reducing the dry eye syndrome. Restasis eyedrops are another option. These eye drops help your eyes to increase tear fluid production. If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many "normal" eye drops, especially artificial tears, cannot be used while your contacts are in your eyes. If you live in hot and dry climates it is also an option to wear sunglasses to protect the eyes a little more. Some sunglasses are more protective by 'trying' to seal off the area around your eyes. One of the last options to reduce the impact of dry eyes is to move into a geographical area with high humidity. Usually the warmer climates with high humidity work better than colder areas.

Conclusion: There is no final solution to cure dry eyes in most cases. Most options however help to reduce the impact and help to improve your overall eye health. It is highly recommended to talk your optometrists about your eye health.
About the Author
Christoph Puetz publishes health related content for several well-known websites. He specifically writes about eye health related topics and contact lenses - including contact lenses for dry eyes.
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