Celebrities Are Speaking Out About Chronic Dry Eye

dry20eye.jpgJennifer Aniston and Marisa Tomei have more in common than just a successful acting career. They both suffer from Chronic Dry Eye (CDE).

Chronic Dry Eye is a condition caused by decreased tear function due to advanced age, eye diseases, certain medications, contact lens use, or environmental factors. We rely on tears for the normal lubrication of our eyes and to wash away foreign substances, so CDE feels uncomfortable and irritating. Common symptoms of CDE are:

  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Scratchiness
  • Watering eyes
  • Discomfort from contact lenses
  • General feeling of eye irritation

Aniston and Tomei have similar stories: the only way they could get through their days of script reading was using artificial tears. Aniston shared, “I thought it was just me, that my eyes were just sensitive or that I had allergies, and as the years went on and it got a bit worse I just thought, oh, it’s my job—reading scrips it was starting to become painful. But then someone actually asked me in an interview, ‘Do you have anything you’re addicted to?’ and I said ‘Eye drops'” (Source: Marie Claire).

There are many factors that may make you more prone to CDE. Working long hours at a computer reduces your blink rate, which makes you more likely to have dry eyes. Taking medications like antidepressants, antihypertensive and antihistamines can exacerbate dry eye. Your gender can also affect your susceptibility to CDE; women, especially after menopause, are more likely to suffer from dry eye than men.

Although there is no cure for CDE, there are some treatments that are available. Your ophthalmologist can put in a punctual plug, a small device that is inserted into the tear duct to block the duct, to temporarily close the duct where tears drain from the eye, or prescribe medications to increase your tear production.

If you experience chronic dry eye, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Christopher E. Starr, M.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Director of Laser Vision Correction Surgery, and Director of the Fellowship Program in Cornea, Cataract & Refractive Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York-Presbyterian Hospital said, “Like Marisa, many patients struggle for years with their dry eye symptoms before discussing them with their eye doctors. Chronic Dry Eye is a progressive disease, and if you find that you’re experiencing dry eyes and you’re using artificial tears more often, it’s important to see your eye doctor to discuss treatment options” (Source: PR Newswire).

 

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