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Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eyes

If your eyes are constantly itchy or dry, you may have dry eye syndrome, which affects many millions of Americans. Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of, or poor quality of, tears. Tears lubricate the outer layer of the eye called the cornea. If the tears are not adequate or are not composed of a proper balance of mucous, water, and oil, the eye becomes irritated.

Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome leads to a number of symptoms, including itchiness, irritation, burning, excessive tearing, redness, blurred vision that improves with blinking, and discomfort after long periods of watching television, using a computer, or reading.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome. These include dry, hot, or windy climates; high altitudes; air-conditioned rooms; and cigarette smoke. Contact lens wearers, people with abnormally dry skin, and the elderly are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome. You may also be more at risk if you take certain medications, have a thyroid condition, a vitamin-A deficiency, Parkinson’s or Sjorgen’s disease, or if you are a woman going through menopause.

 
Blepharitis

Blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis. Seborrheic blepharitis is often part of an overall skin condition called seborrhea, which may also affect the scalp, chest, back and the area behind the ears. The second form of blepharitis – staph blepharitis – is a more severe condition, caused by bacteria, that begins in childhood and may continue through adulthood.

Causes

Hormones, nutrition, general physical condition, and even stress may contribute to seborrheic blepharitis. Build-ups of naturally occurring bacteria contribute to staph blepharitis.

Symptoms

Blepharitis could be described as dandruff of the eyelids. Seborrheic blepharitis results in redness of the eyelids, flaking and scaling of eyelashes, and greasy, waxy scales caused by abnormal tear production. Staph blepharitis can cause small ulcers, loss of eyelashes, eyelid scarring, and even red eye.

Treatment

Careful cleaning of the eyelids can reduce seborrheic blepharitis. Application of hot packs to the eyes for 20 minutes a day can also help. Staph blepharitis may require antibiotic drops and ointments.

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