New research suggests that there may be a link between dry eye disease (DED) and depression. DED is a condition where there are inadequate tears to lubricate the eyes. It affects between 5% to 50% of people globally, and more than 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition. The study found that out of 401 people surveyed, 36.7% had DED, and 23.7% were diagnosed with depression, stress, or anxiety. A recent study also found that patients who have been diagnosed with depression have more severe symptoms of dry eye, which can in turn upset them emotionally. The exact mechanism linking DED and depression has not been fully established, but inflammation in the body may be one key cause. SSRIs, antidepressants that increase serotonin in your system and reduce depression symptoms, may also increase inflammation, which, in turn, can worsen DED symptoms. Lifestyle may be another important factor. Depression can change your habits, resulting in increased screen time and poor eating habits, for example. These changes can lead to increased tear evaporation and, inevitably, dry eye. Patients with these conditions can work with their doctors to make the changes they need to improve depression and DED symptoms. Non-pharmaceutical treatments for dry eye, such as warm compresses and lid hygiene, can help a lot. Omega-3 fatty acid taken by mouth can not only help with dry eye, but with mood, too. Blinking exercises can help lubricate the surface of your eyes. You can also reduce stress through acupuncture, staying physically active, and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
New connection found between depression and dry eye disease