You are currently viewing What Causes Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease

What Causes Dry Eye Disease?

What Causes Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common condition characterized by a lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eyes. It can cause symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, and blurred vision. There are several potential causes of dry eye disease, including:

  1. Meibomian gland dysfunction: The meibomian glands, located in the eyelids, produce an oily substance that helps to keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. When these glands become blocked or malfunction, it can lead to dry eye symptoms.

  2. Aging: As we age, our eyes naturally produce fewer tears. This can make dry eye symptoms more likely to occur, particularly in older adults.

  3. Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause, can also affect the production of tears and contribute to dry eye symptoms.

  4. Certain medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants, can reduce the production of tears and lead to dry eye symptoms.

  5. Environmental factors: Dry, windy, or dusty environments can cause tears to evaporate too quickly, leading to dry eye symptoms. Additionally, long periods of time spent staring at screens or reading can cause the eyes to dry out.

  6. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, can also lead to dry eye symptoms. For example, Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce tears and saliva.

  7. Eye surgeries including catarac surgery and LASIK surgery – a type of laser surgery used to correct vision. After LASIK surgery, some people may experience dry eye symptoms as a side effect.

  8. Contact lens use: Contact lens use can also lead to dry eye symptoms. Contact lenses can absorb the tears and cause the eyes to dry out.

  9. Nutritional deficiencies: Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in omega-3 fatty acids, may cause dry eye symptoms.

  10. Smoking: Smoking can lead to dry eye symptoms. The chemicals in cigarettes can damage the eyes and reduce the production of tears.

In conclusion, dry eye disease can be caused by a variety of factors, including meibomian gland dysfunction, aging, hormonal changes, certain medications, environmental factors, medical conditions, LASIK surgery, contact lens use, nutritional deficiencies, and smoking. It’s important to consult an optometrist if you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, as they can help determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options. In some cases, treatment may include the use of artificial tears, warm compresses, or medications to increase tear production. In other cases, surgery or other more aggressive treatments may be necessary. It’s also important to take steps to protect your eyes from dry environments and limit screen time, as well as quit smoking and maintain a healthy diet

Red Eye

Disclaimer: Please note this article is not to be taken as medical advice and is solely for informational purposes. Please see your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Shiv Sharma

Dr. Shiv Sharma is an Optometrist who specializes in family eye care, dry eye, and pediatric eye care. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in M.B.B. From Simon Fraser University in 2009 and his Doctorate of Optometry degree from the Southern College of Optometry in 2013. He is a strong advocate for innovation in optometry practice and consults for several ophthalmic industry companies.