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Diseases and Conditions Linked to Dry Eye Syndrome

Why Do I Have Dry Eyes?

dry eye girlThere are a number of possible causes for Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), ranging from simple aging, usage of contact lenses, dry air, and so on. In addition, there are numerous diseases and medical conditions that can produce dry eyes, though the degree to which one might suffer the symptoms does vary. As dry eye syndrome is such a chronic condition, identifying the cause of your dry eyes is often instrumental in preventing worsening of symptoms in the future. These are a few of the conditions and diseases that could be responsible for your dry eyes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A chronic disorder afflicting over 1.3 million Americans ranging from adults to children, rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects the joints, causing severe pain and stiffness. However, it also has been shown to effect the eyes, most commonly in the form of DES. Dry Eyes can be particularly severe for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, and this severe irritation of the cornea can lead to keratitis and even cause loss of vision. Preventative treatment for this is important, and an eye doctor should be consulted.

High Cholesterol

High amounts of cholesterol in the blood can clog the Meibomian glands. This prevents the eyes from getting enough lubrication, which in turn causes itchiness and irritation to the dried eyes. A recent study conducted in South Korea concluded this after discovering a correlation between individuals with higher cholesterol levels and dry eye syndrome. Fortunately, treatment for this is relatively easy, as simple changes to one’s lifestyle and dietary habits can lower cholesterol and alleviate symptoms.

Vitamin Deficiency

Though a much rarer problem in the USA as opposed to developing nations, Vitamin A Deficiency remains the most common cause of childhood blindness in the world, and remains a global concern due to how common it is.Vitamin Deficiencies as a whole are alleged to affect 1 out of ever 3 american adults, with Vitamin A Deficiencies being no exception. Dry eyes are one of the many symptoms that result from this, but this can be treated with dietary changes, food supplements and multivitamins, though a visit to your optometrist is still recommended.

Thyroid Eye Disease

Also known as TED or Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, this condition is primarily suffered by those already suffering from hyperthyroid, Thyroid Cancer, or other thyroid conditions. Dry Eye Syndrome is one of the first symptoms of TED, which can cause severe eye pain, bulging eyes, blurred vision, and loss of sight. This disease is treatable, and some moderate cases have even been known to spontaneously enter remission within a year, but treatment is still recommended. Severe cases of TED are particularly severe, and require immediate surgery to prevent total blindness. TED is also commonly associated with Graves’ Disease, and is estimated to develop in .05% of males and 3% of females worldwide. Fortunately, smoking tobacco is known to be one of the highest risk factors for the condition, meaning that quitting smoking can alleviate symptoms and be much more likely to prevent the disease altogether.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, contact us today to learn how we can treat dry eyes.