What Is It?
Dry eye syndrome occurs when there is an inadequate quantity or quality of tear production to moisten, protect and cleanse the eyes. Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye problems. And it becomes more common as people age because tear production can diminish as part of the aging process.
More women are affected than men. And the syndrome is more likely to flare up at times of hormonal change such as after menopause or during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Birth control pills can trigger dry eye syndrome, and so can many other medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, antianxiety agents and diuretics or other blood pressure pills. Some medicines that are used in the eye also can cause dry eyes as an allergic reaction.
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About the Author
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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