Dry eye and your environment
Where you live may play a role in developing dry eyes. For example, people who live in major cities with high levels of air pollution may be more likely than those in areas with less air pollution to suffer dry eye symptoms. A study of U.S. military veterans found people in and around Chicago and New York City were three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome compared to people in areas with relatively little air pollution.
The same study also showed that people who live in higher-altitude zip codes, where the air is typically drier, are 13 percent more likely to develop dry eye than people at lower altitudes.
Based on these study findings, eye doctors recommend that dry eye sufferers who live in smoggy cities or very dry climates use specific tactics to help manage and control their symptoms.
Specifically, they suggest:
- using a high-quality air filter at home in major cities or other areas with a lot of air pollution, and
- using a humidifier in the home to add moisture to dry air.