Dry Eye Syndrome Common in Winter01/29/11
SATURDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Dry eye syndrome is common
in winter because of cold, dry outdoor air and dry indoor heat,
says an eye expert.
Symptoms include pain, blurred vision, a scratchy or burning
sensation, or even watery eyes as the eyes try to compensate for
the dryness, explains Pittsburgh-area ophthalmologist Dr. Michael
"Because both dry eye and allergies can cause watery eyes, differentiating the two conditions can be difficult and may require an eye exam," he said in a news release from the Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
Dry eye can occur at any age, but is more common among older
adults, especially post-menopausal women. In some people, dry eye
syndrome may be related to:
- Conditions that affect the ability to produce tears, such as
scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular
- Certain medications, such as diuretics, antihistamines and beta
- Eyelid structural problems that prevent them from closing
Azar outlined some ways to deal with dry eye syndrome.
"Try artificial tears or warm compresses to assist with tear secretion if you have classic dry eye symptoms. At home, a furnace humidifier or room humidifier can help. More severe symptoms may require treatment such as oral doxycycline to improve tear quality, punctal plugs [stoppers inserted into the tear duct], topical steroids or topical cyclosporine (Restasis)," he said.
For most people, dry eye is simply a nuisance.
"However, severe dry eye can make you vulnerable to corneal infections, which can permanently affect your vision," said Azar. If artificial tears don't work, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist, he advised.
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about
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