What Causes Dry Eyes

There are many different causes of dry eye syndrome which can work independently or in combination to create the symptoms associated with dry eyes. Causes can be environmental, lifestyle-related, age-related, or due to medications or disease.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is also thought to be the leading cause of dry eye disease.

This list is designed to give you an overview of several causes of dry eye syndrome but does not cover all known causes. If you are feeling any of the symptoms of dry eyes, or are feeling any kind of discomfort in your eyes, please contact our optometrist to make an appointment or discuss your symptoms with us over the phone.

A general list of the main causes of dry eyes are listed below:

  • Environment (outdoors): dry weather, low humidity, wind, cold, smoke, high altitude.
  • Environment (indoors): forced heating or air conditioning inside the home or office. Shopping centres can also be very irritating for dry eyes as well as airplane cabins.
  • Lifestyle: diet, smoking and consumption of diuretics without proper hydration.
  • Allergies: hayfever, pollen, dust or animals.
  • Medications: antihistamines, beta-blockers, antispasmodics, diuretics, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, blood pressure medications. Dry Eye Syndrome is also associated with Accutane, chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Contact Lens wear.
  • Maturation: tear production decreases with age.
  • Hormonal changes: Menopause is associated with dry eye syndrome.
  • Medical conditions: such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases (such as Sjögren syndrome), rheumatoid arthritis, Bell’s Palsy.
  • Infrequent blinking: staring with a fixed gaze for prolonged periods. Increased usage of digital device usage (computers, tablets, smartphones) as well as non-digital documents (magazines, books, newspapers) is associated with dry eyes.
  • Incomplete blinking.
  • Nocturnal lagophthalmos: a condition where the eyes don’t fully blink and stay partially open at night.
  • Recurrent corneal erosions: when the cornea and eye lid stick together at night.
  • Obstruction of the lacrimal glands.
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD): blockage or atrophy of the meibomian glands.
  • Eye trauma: impact injury or burns.
  • Eye surgery: vision correction/laser eye surgery, cataract surgery

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. In2Eyes has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Please consult our optometrists, or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

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