How Common Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry, swollen, irritated eyes are no fun. You may rub and rub, but the feeling will not go away. You may buy a bottle of artificial tears, but that will only be a short time solution. Eventually, you will be out of options, but you know what? Dry eye syndrome is a common eye disease for millions of Americans, and it is treatable.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome a condition where you don’t have enough quality tears to keep your eyes moist. This condition typically causes irritation, burning, and constant scratching of the eyes. In some cases, one may experience blurry vision. While these side-effects may not seem too serious, chronic dry eye can cause significant vision problems.

How common is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye conditions in the United States. Since the prevalence increases with age, most often, people who have dry eye syndrome are middle-aged or older. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated 4.88 million Americans age 50 or older have dry eye syndrome. Of these, 3.2 million are women, and 1.68 are men.

What are the symptoms?

If you have chronic dry eyes, you will likely experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Burning, itchy, or sore eyes
  • Heavy or fatigued eyes
  • Dryness or redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Troubles driving at night
  • Light sensitivity
  • Troubles wearing contacts

What are the causes?

Dry eyes can be caused by several things, including medication, a pre-existing medical condition, excessive screen time, makeup, and age.

How are dry eyes diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam can diagnose dry eyes. During the exam, an eye doctor will test and evaluate the quantity and quality of tears produced. The testing may include:

  • A discussion regarding your patient history, symptoms, general health problems, or any other external factors that may be contributing to dry eyes
  • An external evaluation of the eye, including lid structure and movement
  • An examination of the eyelids and cornea
  • A measurement of the quantity and quality of tears for any abnormalities

With the information obtained from testing, your optometrist or ophthalmologistcan determine if you have dry eyes and advise you on treatment options. 

If you’re one of the nearly five million Americans with dry eyes, contact Vision Associates at 419-578-2020 to schedule an eye exam. Your eyes are worth taking care of, no matter how old you are.


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