Who is affected by dry eye?

Office-based professionals and contact lens wearers

One of the most common reasons for people to visit an ophthalmologist is for dry eye treatment. Many professionals sit in front of computer screens for most of their working day. Most office spaces have air conditioning. Screen use decreases your rate at which you blink; air conditioning dehydrates you. Either circumstance can cause dry eyes; but the combination really increases the chances of you having “Dry Eye Syndrome” (DES). Sometimes it’s called “Computer Vision Syndrome”, “Office Eye”, or is just described as “tired eyes”.

Contact lens wearers often develop DES after a few years of wearing the lenses (especially soft contact lenses), and shift workers and night workers commonly develop DES, as tear film production (the natural lubricant of the eye) is affected by circadian (day/night) rhythms – at night, less tear film is produced. Finally, tear film production decreases as people age, to the point that a significant proportion of people aged 65 years or older have DES (although people of all ages can be affected).

The good news is that your dry eyes can be treated – and there’s more that can be done that just offering lubricating eyedrops.

In Switzerland, it’s reported that 600,000 people have been officially diagnosed with DES – but it’s likely that the true number is much higher thanks to unreported cases – people who live with DES, but haven’t asked for help.

Contact Lenses

Night Work

Dry eyes generally affect people of all ages, with an accumulation of the following populations:

  • Contact lens wearers (especially in wearers of soft contact lenses)
  • Professionals who work a lot on computers and / or are often in air-conditioned rooms
  • Older people (> 65 years)
  • Night workers / shiftworkers, as tear production is closely linked to the day-night rhythm.

The ELZA Institute