Understanding Some Of The Causes Of Dry Eyes

2012-05-24 | |
Last updated: 2012-05-24

It is by no means news to anyone that our eyes are extremely sensitive. The level of discomfort and pain that we can feel from shampoo, a speck of dust or an eyelash in the eye is a quick reminder of this sensitivity. It is not only foreign objects in the eye that can cause such discomfort either. Chronically dry eyes can also cause significant irritation, which in turn, can seriously affect a person’s quality of life.

Such irritation has such a negative effect because it is very hard to rest the eyes while still remaining active in some way. Experiencing dry eyes means that the simple act of using the eyes becomes uncomfortable and painful in relatively quickly. At the same time, few medications exist to treat dry eyes and because of this, people who do not benefit from the small number of medications have few effective alternatives. This makes it important for those suffering from dry eyes to understand what is causing all the discomfort.

How Common Is It To Experience Dry Eyes?

Given that our eyes must maintain a very consistent level of moisture at their surface to function correctly, it is not surprising that the problem of dry eyes is very common. In fact, research from Georgetown University presented at the 2010 Dry Eye Summit suggests that as much as 20% of the population suffers from some form of dry eye disorder. Other estimates suggest that as much as 30% of the population experiences some regularly occurring form of dry eyes.

One specific cause of dry eyes, called Dry Eye Disease, was alone responsible for dry eyes in 7% of the US population and 33% of the population in Taiwan according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology.

Among the population, females and more mature adults are most likely to experience dry eyes. In fact, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research, women are 2 to 3 times more likely to experience the condition than men, likely because of more frequent hormonal changes. However, for men, the chances of developing the problem increase with age. Men in their late seventies suffer from dry eyes roughly twice as often as men in their early fifties according to research from Harvard Medical School.

Taken together, this information makes it quite clear just how common dry eye disorders are. With the aging population, the research also projects that the number of people affected will increase by 66% by 2030.

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Category: Disease Information, General Health, Medical Research, Symptom Information

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