Tears are important to the eye. They keep the surface of the eye moist and rinse away dust and small particles flying in the air. Further, tears include enzymes that destroy microbes and prevent them from growing.
For one reason or another, some people have dry eyes. The eye may not produce enough tears or the tears may evaporate too quickly due to environmental factors or abnormal chemical composition. The symptoms of dry eyes include eye irritation, red color, sensitivity to light, feeling of having something in the eye, and even watery eyes as the eye is trying to overcompensate for the loss of moisture.
Up to 40% of people suffer from dry eyes at some point in their lives. This condition is more common in older people, and it has been estimated that 75% of people over 65 have it. Women are more prone to dry eyes than men, which is most likely due to hormonal factors: pregnancy and nursing, periods, contraception, and menopause may cause the hormonal balance to shift.
Dry eyes are worsened by exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust, and wind. Dry air indoors, heating, air-conditioning, and working with computer screens also contribute to dry eyes.
Illnesses that may cause dry eyes include allergies, Sjogren's syndrome, diabetes, and various eye conditions. Some medications may also cause dry eyes.
How to Cure or Prevent Dry Eyes