Does Depression Lead to Dry Eyes?

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States alone. While it is considered a multifactorial disease with various etymologies, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is the cause of most dry eye cases diagnosed in the clinical setting.

Dry eye syndrome’s other identified risk factors include aging, gender, genetics, stress, smoking, anxiety, and depression. Among all these causative factors, depression has received widespread attention as the condition influencing the interventions and success rate of an individualized treatment plan. Let’s look at the causes and effects of depression on individuals diagnosed with dry eye syndrome.

Dry eyes can affect your mood

The chronic pressure on the eyelids due to absent or reduced oil production can alter a person’s mood. Though one may feel acclimated to having dry eyes, it can lead to depressed individuals suffering from acute depression attacks. Therefore, the best treatment for dry eye conditions entails a holistic approach that includes addressing the mood changes arising from dealing with the condition. 

Impending vision loss may result in acute depressive attacks 

Dry eye syndrome typically starts with minor signs and symptoms and vision loss when left untreated. The blockage of the Meibomian glands, infection, or low sebum production can often lead to permanent corneal, conjunctival, and eyelid damage. These complications predispose an individual to suffer from permanent vision loss sooner or later. Without proper management and treatment, depressed individuals often feel hopeless and fall deeper into depression instead of finding a treatment option that can help them manage their condition effectively. 

Necessary lifestyle changes

Dry eye syndrome is often diagnosed in its last stages as most individuals are asymptomatic during the early stages of the illness. Apart from eye dryness, there are many other associated symptoms, including itchiness in one or both eyes, eyelid inflammation, irritation, swollen eyelids, and the sensation of having a foreign object in your eye. Dry eye symptoms may be overwhelming for those who suffer from chronic depression. As a result, individuals who fail to perform their routines with the utmost proficiency are more likely to suffer from frequent anxiety attacks. 

Reduced social interactions

Individuals with dry eye syndrome experience blurry vision that can be a safety hazard when walking or driving vehicles. To avoid accidents or exacerbation of symptoms, they choose to isolate themselves instead. In some cases, people undergoing treatment refrain from social interactions until all unwanted signs and symptoms disappear. 

Effective management of dry eye syndrome and depression is key

Many dry eye syndrome patients suffering from depression must receive a comprehensive treatment plan to resolve both conditions. Apart from receiving the right set of management interventions to alleviate the signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome, patients are encouraged to seek the expertise of therapists to treat mood swings and depressive episodes.

Final thoughts

While dry eye syndrome is a non-terminal illness, individuals must be treated promptly to prevent the disease from becoming serious. The impending threat of vision loss can negatively impact one’s state of mind; hence, proper psychological evaluation and treatment must also be implemented to ensure a positive and speedy recovery.

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