What causes the onset of dry eye?
There are many things that can reduce tearing or cause inflammation, triggering a flare-up, including:
- air conditioning
- exposure to low humidity in the air, such as a long plane ride
- uninterrupted screen time, including: working at a computer, watching TV or browsing on a phone
- prolonged use of contact lenses
- seasonal allergic conjunctivitis
- failure to take prescribed medication for dry eyes
- air exhaled on the ocular surface from the top of a loose-fitting mask used during the COVID-19 pandemic
- eye surgery (including LASIK, cataract and others)
Cataract surgery and LASIK are common triggers of dry eye for several reasons. Damage to the corneal nerve endings during the incision process can cause a temporary decrease in tear production and corneal sensitivity. Flare-ups after eye surgery may last for weeks or months. Topical medications prescribed after surgery, such as drops or ointments, may contribute to flare-ups, especially if they contain preservatives. The surface of the eye will heal over time and these problems should resolve.
If you have dry eye and need surgery, check with your ophthalmologist about "pre-treatment" options for your eyes prior to surgery to help minimize symptoms and "quiet" a flare-up.
More information: https://bit.ly/3Wz4FuJ