• Three Things You Can Learn About Dry Eye from Jennifer Aniston

    Written by: Reena Mukamal
    Sep. 02, 2016

    For Jennifer Aniston, there are two more dry eyes in the house than she’d like. The actress recently revealed that she has dry eye condition.

    Affecting about 5 million Americans, dry eye causes discomfort and can interfere with day-to-day activities like reading and watching television. Aniston shared that she suffered with dry eye for years before getting diagnosed and treated.

    Here are three things we can learn about this common condition from her experience.

    1. What is dry eye? When the eyes do not produce enough tears or the right quality of tears to keep them healthy and comfortable, they can develop dry eye. Aniston complained of irritated, itchy and sometimes swollen eyes that felt worse after reading scripts. Other symptoms can include stinging or burning eyes, excess tearing and discomfort when wearing contact lenses.

    2. Who can get dry eye? Dry eye can be caused by a number of different biological and environmental factors, including hormonal changes in women after menopause, common medications that reduce tear secretion (e.g. antihistamines, certain blood pressure medicines, anti-depressants), and exposure to windy climates or air conditioning. Sometimes dry eye comes hand-in-hand with certain autoimmune diseases like lupus. Other times, diseases of the gland in the eyelid can cause dry eye.

    3. How do you treat dry eye? While Aniston suffered from symptoms for years with only temporary relief, dry eye can be managed and discomfort alleviated. Depending on the cause of dry eye, your ophthalmologist may use various approaches to treat your condition. Treatment may include use of over-the-counter artificial tear drops, prescription medication, nutritional supplements, or, in some cases, minor surgery. Your ophthalmologist can help guide you to the right treatment.