By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute
Dry eyes is a condition where the amount of tear fluid is reduced and/or the composition of the tear fluid is wrong. It may occur as a passing or chronic condition.
Every time we blink, the tear fluid is spread over the cornea and the mucous membrane of the eye. The formation of the different elements in the tear fluid is dependent on many things, among others the hormone production. When we become older the hormone production alters and this is the explanation for why especially older people are frequently bothered by dry eyes.
Furthermore, dry eyes can be triggered or worsened by a number of things:
- Poor indoor climate with dry air, air conditioning, dust, static electricity, chemical fumes or smoky rooms, which makes the tear fluid evaporate quickly.
- Working in front of a computer and other work that demands high concentration can lead to you blinking less and less with your eyes so that less tear fluid is spread on the eye.
- Use of contact lenses
- Age, since the quality of the tears alters with age.
- Influence by sun, wind and water.
- Side-effects from medication (e.g. medication for urinary problems and medication for depression).
With intervals, almost everyone experience dry eyes as a passing phenomenon. Between 10 - 15 % are much bothered by it.
The most common nuisances with dry eyes are smarting, burning, itching, the feeling of having something in the eye, sensitivity to light and blurry vision. The nuisances can also appear as tiredness of the eyes in the case of much reading together with driving a car or travelling by plane. Paradoxically, you can also experience the eye watering when you have dry eyes and this is caused by the mucous membranes in the eyes are irritated. Dry eyes are frequently seen, although passing, following laser surgery.