Use integrative approach to stress-induced dry eye

(Published in October 2018 in Primary Care Optometry News)

Dry eye is one of the most frequently encountered ophthalmic conditions, with prevalence as high as 87.5% (Fenga et al.) among computer users and 73.5% (Uchini et al.) among the elderly population.

Symptoms include fluctuating vision, tired eyes, redness, burning, foreign body sensation, excessive tearing, itching and recurring eye infections. Causes include age, menopause, allergies, medication (antihistamines, diuretics, antidepressants, birth control pills, beta-blockers and hormone replacement therapy), low humidity environments, lid disease and contact lens wear.

I believe there is another important, yet overlooked, cause for dry eye: stress, both psychological and visual. Over the years, I have seen an overwhelmingly high percentage of my dry eye patients report a high level of stress – psychological (such as depression, stress from work or family) or visual stress from excessive use of digital devices. Patients with blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), hordeolum and chalazia are usually also stressed.
Dr. Elise Brisco

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