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11 Causes for Dry Eye

11 Causes for Dry Eye

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye means that your eyes don't have enough lubrication. Other terms for dry eye include dry eye syndrome, dry eye disease, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

For many people, it is a chronic condition. For others, it is a temporary symptom of contact use, eye surgery, certain medications, or environment.

Dry eyes can be the result of:

  • A lack of tear production

  • Poor quality of tears

Studies estimate that approximately 7 to 33% of people have dry eye symptoms. 

11 Common Causes of Dry Eye

Several factors can influence your risk for dry eyes. Generally, women and people over 50 are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome.

The most common causes of dry eye include:

1. Older age

Your tear production declines with age.

In women, hormonal changes that occur with menopause negatively affect tear secretion. In men, a decline in androgen levels with age can cause a decrease in tear production.

2. Female gender

Menopausal and post-menopausal women have a higher risk of dry eyes.

3. Environment and climate

Sunny or windy conditions can trigger dry eyes. Pollution, pollen, dust, and other environmental irritants can also aggravate symptoms.

People living in dry climates are more prone to dry eye than those living in humid climates.

4. Contact lenses

Many people who wear contact lenses also suffer from dry eye.

Contact lenses:

  • Affect the quality of your tear film

  • Restrict oxygen and tear flow

  • Can trap allergens and irritants in your eye

All of these factors can aggravate dry eyes.

Read about the best contacts for dry eyes.

5. Digital devices

Blinking helps your eyes distribute fresh tears.

However, most people who stare at a tablet, phone, or computer screen often do not blink frequently enough while using their device. This causes your eyes to dry out faster.

6. Medications

There are several classes of drugs that can cause dry eyes.

These include:

  • Blood pressure medication

  • Allergy (antihistamine) medication

  • Antidepressants

  • Antipsychotics

  • Decongestants

  • Hormonal therapies

  • Diuretics

  • Sedatives

  • Retinoids (such as Accutane).

7. Eye surgery

Laser eye surgery (such as LASIK) and cataract surgery can disrupt the tear film. Post-surgical dry eye is common. Most cases are temporary; others are long-lasting.

8. Systemic conditions

Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes dry eyes and dry mouth.

Other conditions frequently associated with dry eye syndrome include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Lupus

  • Diabetes

  • Thyroid problems

9. Blepharitis

Blepharitis is when your eyelids are swollen or red. It is usually caused by clogged oil glands.

10. Entropion

Entropion is a condition where your eyelid is turned inward. This causes your eyelashes to rub against your eyeball.

11. Ectropion

Ectropion is a condition where your eyelid turns outward. This leaves your eyes exposed and prone to irritation.

For more information on the causes and solutions for dry eyes, check out Vision Center at the link below and their informative post!

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