A recent study found that over 4.88 million Americans above the age of 50 suffer from dry eyes. And in this, over three million are women, and around 1.88 million are men. Those are some terrifying numbers. While the statistics talk about people over the age of 50, studies suggest that the number of people in the age group of 20-40 battling dry eyes is high.
Another study suggests that by 2023, the revenue of manufacturers who produce medication for dry eyes would a whopping $6 billion globally. This is against the revenue of $4.8 billion in 2018. These numbers only indicate that dry eye diseases or DED will impact more lives than we would like to believe.
How common is it?
A recent survey found that over 33 percent of the patients at eye clinics in America report experiencing dry eyes. While the high-risk group continues to be the older citizens, the changing lifestyle puts people of all age groups at risk.
A 2013 study by the National Health and Wellness Survey suggests that over six million people experienced dry eye symptoms but never sought medical attention. So, could you be at risk of dry eye disease? Read on to find out about the possible causes of DED and how you could prevent it.
While contact lenses do help you see better, they could be taking a toll on your eyes. This is because contact lenses obstruct the oxygen inflow to your eyes, and that drains your eyes of the natural moisture. This is all the more true if you use contact lenses for long durations.
Instead, you could switch to glasses whenever possible and limit your contact lens usage. Besides that, you could also talk to your doctor about your dry eye conditions and ask for contact lens recommendations as many lenses help retain the moisture in your eyes.
Excessive Screen Time
The past decade has changed our life significantly. Everything from our watch to our cellphone has a massive screen to touch, interact, and perform numerous functions. And not to forget the laptop that makes it possible for us to work from anywhere across the globe. While all these devices were invented to make our lives simple and easier, they take a toll on our health.
For instance, we begin our day by staring at our phone screens, staring at a computer screen all day long, and end the day by staring at our phones. Research suggests that while staring at these screens, we forget to blink, leading to eye dryness. However, you can prevent this by consciously training your brain to start blinking again. Until that happens, you can take a break every 20 minutes, blink a few times before resuming work.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an auto-immune disease where the body’s white blood cells attack the other healthy cells in the body. A common symptom of Sjögren’s syndrome is dry mouth and dry eyes. As this could lead to several other serious health conditions, too, make sure you consult your doctor as soon as you notice that the symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth persist despite all your efforts to stay hydrated.
While there is no cure yet for Sjögren’s syndrome, your doctor will help you with medication that will keep the condition under control. This could include a steroid eye drop, over the counter medication, silicone plugs, etc.
Ever wondered why every celebrity swears by water therapy and why doctors ask you to stay hydrated at all times? Well, there’s more reason for it than just the beauty aspect. Dehydration could lead to dry eye disease. So, it is important to make sure you drink lots of fluids to keep your body hydrated. While water and fresh fruit juices are a great option, caffeinated drinks, aerated drinks, and alcohol dehydrate your body.
So, please stay away from them. And as we speak of things to avoid, you should quit smoking and stay from second-hand smoke too, as they lead to dryness in your eyes too. Making sure you drink lots of water and consume fresh fruit juices will significantly reduce your chronic dry eye symptoms. Talk to your ophthalmologist for medications, lifestyle changes, and diet that could help you deal with dry eyes.