The condition known as “dry eye” has become an increasingly bothersome issue impacting people of all ages. As an ongoing, frustration that eye doctor professionals everywhere have treated at one point in their careers, dry eye comes along with such symptoms as tearing, grittiness, redness and irritation – all of which, rightfully so, annoy patients suffering with it.

Eye care centers such as Matossian Eye Associates are finding that the implications of dry eye can go beyond this, however. In a study conducted with Veteran Affairs, it was deduced that dry eyes can be associated with other pain-related issues like headaches and migraines. What’s more, chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPCs), wherein several pain conditions including headaches, migraines, backaches, fibromyalgia and even irritable bowel syndrome affect an individual at the same time, all have similar underlying mechanisms of inflammation and nerve sensation as dry eye syndrome.

During a five-year study from 2010 to 2014, veterans were retroactively analyzed, with results that suggested there is a correlation with those who experienced such aforementioned pain conditions and dry eyes. In fact, if you deal with both migraines and dry eyes, it’s not just a coincidence – additional research by eye doctor professionals and other groups suggests that migraine attacks may be longer and more severe in those with dry eye syndrome compared to those who don’t suffer from it.

Dry eye syndrome (also referred to by some eye care specialists as dry eye disease) is a complex condition involving impaired tear function, as well as eye surface abnormalities. It often stems from increased loss of water from the eye’s surface, increased salt content in the tears or even decreased tear production itself. Although there is increasing evidence that many people have symptoms related to dry eye that are unrelated to these causes.

Indeed, dry eye syndrome is more complicated than many previously thought.

Here’s a good example Matossian Eye Associates team uses to get this point across: Sometimes dry eye syndrome develops as the result of an underlying medical condition such as Sjogren’s Syndrome. People with this autoimmune condition also seem to endure higher incidents of migraines and headaches than those without, and while most of the studies focusing on the link between migraine and dry eye syndrome have been relatively small, there is definitely a relationship worth exploring.

The bottom line here is that the phenomenon known as dry eye syndrome goes beyond an affliction that merely bothers the eyes – it can be a very complicated and impactful condition. It is recommended that you consult your ophthalmologist or optometrist to learn more about dry eyes if you suspect you may be experiencing its symptoms.