What is Dry Eye?


According to the National Eye Institute, approximately five million Americans aged 50 and older are estimated to suffer from dry eye syndrome. For these people, the gritty, sensitive feeling not only causes discomfort, but it can also affect vision. All these variables add up and can severely affect quality of life – whether you’re working on the computer or spending time with family.

It is more common in women than men and tends to occur more often in middle-aged and older adults than younger people. But because dry eye has many causes, including medications and medical conditions, it can happen to almost anyone.

Optical Solutions has a full range of treatment options and a talented team of physicians who can get at the root cause of your discomfort. Read on to explore the common dry eye causes and the new treatments that presents promise for relief.


Dry eye has three main causes:

  • Your tears evaporate too fast. A layer of tears covers your eyes all the time, not just when you cry. Tears are made up of oil, saltwater, and mucus. The oil helps keep tears from evaporating too quickly. But the oil-producing glands (Meibomian glands) in the eyelids can become blocked, causing tears to evaporate, and creating dry eye symptoms.
  • Your eyes don’t make enough tears. This can happen for many reasons. Common medications, such as antihistamines and hormone replacement therapy, can cause dry eye. So can certain diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Normal aging and hormone changes in menopause can also cause dry eye.
  • Your eyelids don’t distribute tears evenly. Your eyelids distribute tears across your eyes’ surface each time you blink. Dry eye can develop if you don’t blink enough (at least six times a minute) or have a physical eyelid problem, such as an eyelid that droops away from the eye or rolls onto it.


Common symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Discomfort – Your eyes might feel sandy, gritty, scratchy, itchy, or sensitive to light. You might also have burning, stinging, or pain. Wind or dry air, such as from air conditioning or a wood stove, can make discomfort worse.
  • Trouble seeing – You might have blurry vision, especially at the end of the day or when you focus for a long time. It might be hard to wear contact lenses, if you wear them.
  • Physical changes – Your eyes might be watery or red.



There are many ways to treat dry eye, and most people do best with a combination of treatments. Optical Solutions has a full range of treatment options, including the newest treatments. Your eye doctor will create a customized treatment plan to reduce your symptoms and get you back to your favorite activities.

Published by knanosky

Our first piece of advice when we bought our Airstream was from friends and fellow campers. They said to make sure you "keep the shiny side up." Something that struck me kind of funny, but so true :)

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