signs, symptoms, and factors contributing to dry eyes

Source: American Optometric Association (AOA)

Factors contributing to dry eyes:
-- adults age 45 or older are most likely to experience dry eyes
-- being postmenopausal (women)
-- long term use of contact lenses
-- being visually intent (i.e., staring, not blinking)
-- air drafts (i.e., exposure to drafts from heating or air conditioning vents)
-- low humidity (i.e., caused by furnaces in the winter and air conditioning in the summer)
-- working on the computer for long periods of time can cause dry eyes because you tend to blink less
-- diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems, blepharitis, Sjogren's syndrome
-- medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, blood pressure drugs, oral contraceptives)
-- environmental conditions (wind, smoke, dry climate, hot blowing air, the dry air in the cabins of airplanes)

Signs and symptoms of dry eyes:
-- sensitivity to light
-- difficulty wearing contact lenses
-- stringy mucus in or around the eyes
-- eye fatigue after short periods of reading
-- a sense of a foreign substance in the eyes
-- increased eye irritation from smoke or wind
-- a stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in the eyes
-- blurred vision, often worsening at the end of the day or after visually focusing for a long time on a task

There is no cure for dry eye syndrome (DES).
The primary goal in managing DES is to replenish or preserve the tear film.
Treatment of dry eyes is aimed at restoring a more normal tear film to minimize dryness and
its consequences, including blurred vision and discomfort.
Patients should be educated about simple measures such as using sunglasses and room humidifiers and
avoiding dry environments before turning to medicinal approaches.