Are you Addicted to Eye Drops?
Are You Addicted to Eye Drops?
Have you ever wanted to have something in common with Jennifer Aniston? Now is your chance! If you haven’t heard yet, Aniston is the new spokesperson for Dry Eye Syndrome. We’ve all occasionally used artificial tears to clear up a dry, itchy or gritty eye problem, or possibly to cover up some late night hi-jinx, but how do you know when you actually have this condition? For Aniston, using artificial tears was part of her day to day activities, declaring herself an “eye drop addict.” So what exactly is Dry Eye Syndrome? Dry eye is caused by a lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye and is more common among women, possibly due to hormonal fluctuations. Certain medications can also alter the bodies natural production of tears (antihistamines, some blood pressure medication, birth control pills and anti-depressants). Additionally, other causes of dry eye are: Heavy digital device use, living in a dry environment, prolonged contact lens wear, and certain health conditions such as Lupus and Diabetes. Whatever the cause, when the eyes don't produce enough tears to keep them healthy, you can develop dry eye. Signs that you may have this condition are: 1. Blurriness 2. Sensitivity to light 3. irritation from windy conditions 4. Fatigued eyes at the end of the day 5. Problems wearing contact lenses 6. Scratchy or gritty feeling 7. Excessive tearing 8. Red eyes If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms, you are not alone! Affecting about 25% of Canadians, dry eye causes discomfort and can interfere with day-to-day activities like reading, watching television, and working on your digital device. In response to being asked if she ever sought out a doctor to treat her condition, Aniston says,“I just didn’t know that it was something we needed to do as part of our health routine. Because as I get older, if I hadn’t taken care of this, it just would have gotten worse. And as my doctor said, eventually [your eyes] do start to give out on you if you’re not taking care of them.” While most people suffer from symptoms for years with only temporary relief, dry eye can be managed and discomfort alleviated. Depending on the cause of dry eye, your ophthalmologist may use various approaches to treat your condition. Treatment may include use of over-the- counter artificial tear drops, prescription medication, nutritional supplements, or, in some cases, minor surgery. Your ophthalmologist can help guide you to the right treatment.