Have you been suffering from any of the following eye symptoms: stinging or burning, a gritty feeling, pain and redness, a stringy discharge of the mucus, fatigue or blurry vision? If you have dealt with any of these symptoms and they persist or recur you will want to get an accurate diagnosis from your eye care professional. You may be experiencing chronic dry eye or dry eye disorder. Let’s look at who is most at risk for this disorder, its symptoms and causes.
Who is at Risk?
While dry eye can affect anyone at any age, the elderly frequently experience this chronic syndrome. Nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to have dry eye. Of these, more than three million are women and more than one and a half million are men. Post menopausal women are also at a higher risk for dry eye. Dry eyes are also associated with some medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders and vitamin A deficiency. Certain antidepressants, high blood pressure medication, antihistamines and decongestants can also put a patient at risk for dry eye.
Once you have decided that the symptoms mentioned above are ones that you are experiencing you will want an accurate diagnosis. Dry eyes can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes, may include: taking the patient’s history, external examination of the eye, eyelid, and cornea, and measurement of the quantity and quality of tears. Your doctor will then recommend a course of treatment appropriate for your specific case of dry eye.