Risk Factors

Houston | LASEK | Dr. Yee | Dry EyeThere are a number of factors that can lead to the development of temporary or chronic dry eye.

Dry eye happens when there is an imbalance that’s making your eyes thirsty – for moisture, nutrients, help. During your visit, Dr. Yee will do a thorough assessment of your dry eye symptoms, including asking you about your lifestyle (ex. Do you fly a lot? Is your office drafty? Do you work on a computer?) and medical questions in order to determine if further tests are required — only if he suspects an underlying condition is present and could be causing your symptoms.

While some risk factors can be controlled (ex. computer usage) and others cannot (ex. gender) — the good news is that all dry eyes can be addressed and treated, so you can experience healthier, happier eyes once again.

Common dry eye risk factors include: 

  • Medicines: Certain medications, including antihistamines, nasal decongestants, tranquilizers, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications, birth control pills and anti-depressants can dry out eyes.
  • Ocular surface diseases or skin disorders: Diseases of or around the eyelid, such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis, can result in dry eye. Dry eye can occur in women who are pregnant.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop dry eye than men due to hormonal changes or hormone replacement therapy that can cause a thickening of the oils secreted by the Meibomian glands, which can result in blockages.
  • LASIK: Dry eye is a side effect of LASIK refractive eye surgery because a flap is created, increasing the chance of a flap-related complication such as infection and inflammation. Dry eye IS NOT a side effect of LASEK, as no flap is created.
  • People with allergies are more susceptible dry eye.
  • Excessive computer / screen usage can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome: Staring at any screen (computer, phone, tablet) for extended periods leads to decreased blink rates and increased chances of developing dry eye.
  • Loss of sensation in the cornea from long-term contact lens wear can lead to dry eye.
  • Individuals with systemic diseases such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and some types of thyroid disease also are especially prone to developing dry eye.
  • Environmental: Windy and/or dry climates, excessive airplane travel (recirculated air, low humidity), cigarette smoke, air conditioning, drafty offices, smog.
  • Partial closure: Eyes that don’t shut properly during sleep or due to conditions such as thyroid disease that cause the eye to protrude abnormally.
  • Dry mouth: Dry mouth and dry eye often go together. Dr. Yee might send you to a specialist to determine if you have Sjögren’s syndrome or some other underlying condition such as fibromyalgia.

Contact Dr. Yee for a consultation to learn more about his practice and how he can help you.