Dry Eye, an ailment that can cause headaches, blurred vision, scratchy or burning eyes, and fatigue, used to be considered something that older people or computer programmers were prone to catch. In reality, anyone – even children – can suffer from dry eyes.
Dry eye occurs for a variety of reasons. For instance, it may occur if your eyes do not produce enough tears or if the quality of your existing tears is poor. Environmental factors, like air conditioning or allergies, may also trigger a dry-eye reaction.
While adults most commonly get dry eye, children can as well, although it is much harder for doctors to detect. If you notice that your child seems to be rubbing her eyes a lot, she may have dry eyes. A number of factors cause dry eyes in children. Inflammation due to graft-versus-host disease and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can cause diminished or poor-quality tear production. Congenital disorders like Familial Dysautonomia, Allgrove syndrome, poor nutrition and diabetes are also causes of dry eye in children.
In teens and young adults, dry eye is often caused by too much caffeine, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, improper wear of contact lenses, and vasoconstricting topical drops. Many young adults mistakenly believe that drops that whiten their eyes are actually lubricating them, but the opposite is true.
In older adults, hormonal changes, too much computer use, lack of sleep, medications, autoimmune deficiency and poor nutritional habits can contribute to uncomfortably dry eyes. If you are noticing any of these symptoms in your children or yourself, see your eye doctor.