· Age. Older patients are at an increased risk for dry eye. And every day, more than 10,000 Americans will reach age 55 from now until at least 2020.
· Gender. Women are twice as likely to develop dry eye than men. Androgens variances are one key reason for this finding.
· Environment. This includes smoking, airplane travel, computer use, low humidity environments, and several other considerations we will address in future clinical pearls.
· Lid margin disease. This is especially true of meibomian gland dysfunction.
· Medications. Including oral anti-histamines or medications that have a similar biological function as Accutane (isotretinoin, Roche).
· Systemic conditions. This includes diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease.
· Contact lens wear. Contact lens wear contributes to dry eye. However, certain lens types and materials may be better suited for dry eye wearers.
· Ocular surgery. Surgical procedures, such as LASIK or cataract removal, can cause temporary dry eye in patients who have predisposing risk factors.
Knowledge of these associated risk factors is essential when making a diagnosis of dry eye. Additionally, clinicians must be aware of these associations in order to better tailor patients’ treatment plans.
Patients interested in learning more about Dry Eyes and the latest forms or treatment may call the Duke Eye Center at 919-681-4089.