(NewsUSA) – More than 16 million Americans report that they suffer from a condition called dry eye, and the total number may be as high as 30 million.Women are twice as likely as men to endure this often-painful condition, with symptoms including irritated, scratchy, or burning eyes, a feeling of something in the eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision.Why is dry eye more common in women? One reason is that computer use, makeup and contact lens wear can exacerbate the condition, explains John D. Sheppard, M.D., M.M.Sc., President of Virginia Eye Consultants. The hormonal changes associated with menopause and pregnancy may also adversely affect the eyes. And the incidence of dry eye rises with age.But now, women can find relief from these symptoms, thanks to an eyelid hygiene product from NovaBay Pharmaceuticals (NYSE MKT:NBY) called Avenova.A key root cause of many cases of dry eye is the dense population of bacteria growing on the eyelids and lashes."These bacteria can block glands in the eyelids that produce an oil that keeps our tear film from evaporating," Dr. Sheppard explains. "Without enough oil, the eyes dry up and become painful."The bacteria also release toxins that cause inflammation and produce an enzyme that compromises this crucial oil layer.First, Dr. Sheppard and his colleagues are directly fighting the bacterial overpopulation using Avenova ocular eyelid spray. The key ingredient in Avenova is Neutrox, a pure 0.01 percent formulation of hypochlorous acid, a substance that is naturally made by our human white blood cells to fight microbial invaders."Avenova does an excellent job removing the excess harmful bacteria," says Dr. Sheppard. "Moreover, it directly inactivates the lipase enzyme that breaks up our vital oil."Dr. Sheppard and his colleagues also manage dry eye by using oral Omega 3 and essential fatty acid supplements to help control inflammation.These natural, organic and extremely safe approaches are bringing huge improvements for Dr. Sheppard’s own patients. "Women may no longer need to suffer from this often-painful condition."