Dry eye season is upon us. Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), dry eye is defined as itchy eyes — heavy eyelids – or the feeling something is stuck in your eye and affects more than 3.2 million women over the age of 50 in the U.S., a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology says.
What are the symptoms?
- Sensitivity to light
- Pain and dryness
Although it sounds odd, your eyes make actually make more tears when they are irritated by dry eye.
What causes dry eyes?
According to the National Eye Institute, dry eye occurs when your eyes aren’t producing sufficient tears. Containing electrolytes, nutrients, and antibodies, tears protect your eye ducts against infections following injury.
Without the right treatment, people with dry eyes could develop scarring, pain, and even vision loss.
Here are some other causes of dry eye.
- Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, and lupus
- Blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red)
- Entropion (when eyelids turn in); ectropion (eyelids turn outward)
- Being in smoke, wind or a very dry climate
- Looking at a computer screen for a long time, reading and other activities that reduce blinking
- Using contact lenses for a long time
- Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
- Taking certain medicines, such as:
- Diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure
- Beta-blockers, for heart problems or high blood pressure
- Allergy and cold medicines (antihistamines)
- Sleeping pills
- Anxiety and antidepressant medicines
- Heartburn medicines
Fortunately for those suffering from the persistent pupil problem, there are several things one can do to combat symptoms linked to the following medications:
Medications to Avoid
Antihistamines provide much-needed relief of allergies and cold symptoms, like sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and a runny nose, by blocking the effect of the chemical histamine. Including over-the-counter brands like Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl also reduce the watery tear film that keeps eyes moist.
Nasal Decongestants may be the go-to for easing a backed-up nasal cavity, allowing you to breathe easily. But, much like antihistamines, brand names containing ingredients like phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine and oxymetazoline, decrease tear production. In fact, some over-the-counter products contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant—a double whammy!
Antidepressants, believe it or not, can interrupt messages meant to signal the eyes and release