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Dry eye is a very common problem that affects women more than men and becomes more prevalent as people get older.

It can present in many ways with symptoms that can include a foreign body sensation, burning, stinging, redness, blurred vision and dryness. Tearing is another symptom and occurs because the eye initially becomes irritated from the lack of moisture and then there is a sudden flood of tears in response to the irritation.

Unfortunately, this flood of tears can wash out other important components of the tear film that are necessary for proper eye lubrication. Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

There are medications that have the potential to worsen the symptoms of dry eye. Here are the broad categories and specific medications that have been known to potentially worsen the symptoms:

  • Blood Pressure Medications - Beta blockers such as Atenolol (Tenormin), and diuretics such as Hydrochlorothiazide.
  • GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disorder) Medications - There have been reports of an increase in dry eye symptoms by patients on these medications, which include Cimetidine (Tagamet), Rantidine (Zantac), Omerprazole (Prilosec), Lansoprazole (Prevacid), and Esomeprazole (Nexium).
  • Antihistamines - More likely to cause dry eye: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin). Less likely to cause dry eye: Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Desloratadine (Clarinex) and Fexofenadine (Allegra). Many over-the-counter decongestants and cold remedies also contain antihistamines and can cause dry eye.
  • Antidepressants - Almost all of the antidepressants, antipsychotic and anti-anxiety drugs have the propensity to worsen dry eye symptoms.
  • Acne medication - Oral Isotretinoin.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy - The estrogen in HRT has been implicated in dry eye.
  • Parkinson's Medication - Levodopa/Carbidopa (Synamet), Benztropine (Cogentin), Procyclidine (Kemadrin).
  • Eye Drops - In addition to oral medications many eye drops can actually increase the symptoms of dry eye, especially drops with the preservative BAK.

If you are suffering from dry eye and are using any of the medications above you should discuss this with your ophthalmologist and medical doctor. Don't stop these medications on your own without consulting your doctors.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

Millions of people are affected by dry eye syndrome and the prevalence of dry eye increases with age. An estimated 3.2 million women and over and 1.68 million men age 50 and over are affected by dry eye syndrome.

Here are some risk factors for dry eye:

Aging: Advancing age is the single most important risk factor for dry eye. Most of our body’s moisture-producing glands produce less moisture as we age.

Gender: Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from dry eye. Changes in hormone levels throughout your lifetime often affect the amount of moisture produced by the lacrimal glands that produce tears.

Medical problems: Several diseases result in increased risk for dry eye syndrome, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid abnormalities, asthma, cataracts, glaucoma, and lupus.

Medication: Certain medications can decrease the body's ability to produce lubricating tears.

Contact lenses: Dry eye is the leading cause of contact lens discomfort or intolerance.

Environmental conditions: Exposure to smoke, fluorescent lights, air pollution, wind, heat, air conditioning, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation.

Computer users: People who spend many hours staring at computer screens tend to blink significantly less often. Not blinking allows the eyes to dry faster.

Refractive surgery: This increases the risk of dry eye. Surgery often interferes with the superficial nerves on the cornea. Properly functioning nerves are necessary to help keep the eye surface moist.

Dry eye can present in many different ways. You can have irritation (often presenting as a foreign body feeling on the eye surface), redness, burning, excessive tearing (yes that sounds counterintuitive but often presents this way), or intermittent blurring of vision.

The only way to be sure your symptoms are truly a dry eye problem is to have a comprehensive exam by your ophthalmologist or optometrist. There are other problems, such as allergic reactions and blepharitis, that can create similar symptoms so you need to be examined to determine which of these issues is causing your symptoms.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

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