Dry Eye Disease
Dry Eye in Children and Teens
When ophthalmologists think about Dry Eye patients, the image that most likely comes to mind is that of an individual, often a woman, who is middle-aged or older. Symptoms of dry eye are one of the most common reasons that adults seek eye care; and according to the Academy's "Eye Health Statistics at a Glance", nearly 5 million Americans over age 50 are estimated to have Dry Eye Disease. Yet even though the condition is considerably rarer in children, cornea and pediatric eye specialists believe that it may be both under diagnosed and under-treated in kids and teens ("Are We Missing Dry Eye in Children," Eye Net: Oct. 2012: Pg.35).
Just as in adults, Dry Eye in children and teens can be irritating and painful and, in severe cases, can affect vision. These symptoms can have a particularly strong impact on children's lives by making it more difficult for them to perform school and study activities such as reading and using a computer.
Smoking and Dry Eye
Tobacco smoke is a known eye irritant and worsens dry eye, even in individuals exposed to second-hand smoke, and is particularly troublesome for contact lens wearers.
People who smoke are nearly twice as likely to have Dry Eye Disease (JAMA, August 1992).
Contact Lens Wear
Dry Eye symptoms can be especially bad in people who wear soft contact lenses. Soft lenses absorb water from the eye surface and make the eye dry. Dryness may lead to a patchy loss of cells in the cornea.
Fortunately, dry eye symptoms from contact lenses are usually temporary. However, long-term contact lens wearers may be experiencing a condition where the continual rubbing of the lens across the cornea has caused damage to the structures of the eye that assist in keeping the tear film stable.
The dry eye symptoms can often be minimized or eliminated by changing lens material or through occlusion therapy with Lacrimedics line of VisiPlug products that provide short-term (less than 30 days), medium-term (lasting approximately 180 days), and other products that provide long-term occlusion.