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Dry Eye Awareness

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Are you experiencing scratchy and gritty eyes, fluctuating vision, or having to take your contact lenses out earlier than you’d like to? You may be feeling the effects of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition that currently affects up to 49 million Americans and that number is growing.

Dry eyes occur when the tear film, the layer on the front surface of the eye responsible for hydration and clarity, is under stress. The tear film can become unhealthy from tears evaporating too quickly (evaporative dry eye), insufficient production of quality tears (aqueous deficiency dry eye), or a combination of both.

Screen time is one of the fastest growing risk factors for dry eyes in both children and adults. It has been shown that a person blinks 50% less when using technological devices, which leads to an irritated tear film. While using devices, we recommend consciously trying to blink more often, keeping screen brightness to a moderate level, and observing the 20/20/20 rule: rest your eyes by looking at a target 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes while you are using a device.

There has been a large jump in Bay Area residents experiencing dry eyes because of air irritants from recent fires and hot weather conditions as well increased screen time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Burning, stinging, and itching
  • Fluctuations in vision Light sensitivity Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Contact lens discomfort
  • Red and watery eyes Tired eyes at the end of the day

Common risk factors for dry eyes include:

  • Age
  • Contact lens habits 
  • Prescription medication use 
  • Environmental factors 
  • Cosmetic product usage around the eyes 
  • Screen time with technological devices

Come in for an eye exam and dry eye evaluation so we can formulate an individualized management plan to keep your vision consistent and comfortable.

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Written by Dr. Michael Duong

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