Dry eye affects millions of adults in the United States. The risk of developing this condition increases with advancing age as the body's biochemistry changes. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Children are much less likely to be affected or bothered by symptoms. However, prolonged computer use and excessive reading can cause symptoms to be more severe and this category certainly includes our kids. Certain systemic conditions can cause dry eye such as Sjogrens syndrome, diabetes, even poor nutrition.
Much research has gone into studying and understanding this condition and developing effective treatments. Over-the-counter and prescription strength artificial tears, gels, and ointments may be enough to relieve symptoms. Sometimes working in conjunction with the prescribing doctor to adjust certain medications can do the trick. Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation or taking periodic breaks from screen time, or changes in diet and fluid intake could be helpful. In addition, surgical options and devices that stimulate the glands and nerves associated with tear production have been shown to help in the most severe cases.