What Causes Dry Eye?

What causes dry eye?

Dry eyes are due to insufficient moisture on your eyes resulting from inadequate quality or quantity of tears. If the eyes are not lubricated enough, either by low quantity or poor quality of tears, it causes discomfort and leads to your eyes being irritated and not protected.

Low-quantity of tears:
The decreased quantity of tears is a result of aging, hormones, some medical conditions, certain medications, eye surgery, and damage to the tear gland, just to name a few.

Poor quality tears:
Your tear film consists of three basic layers: fatty oils, water, and mucus. These tear film layers keep the surface of your eyes clear, smooth and protected. Problems with any of these layers can produce poor-quality tears, which allow dry spots to form on your eye, leading to irritation.

Typical causes of inadequate tears:

  • Aging
  • Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders and vitamin A deficiency
  • Certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control, and Parkinson’s disease
  • Laser eye surgery, though symptoms of dry eye related to this procedure are usually temporary
  • Tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation

Typical causes of increased tear evaporation:

  • Wind, smoke or dry air
  • Blinking less often, which tends to occur when you’re concentrating, for example, or while reading, driving or working at a computer
  • Eyelid problems, such as out-turning of the lids (ectropion) and in-turning of the lids (entropion)

Typical causes of imbalance in tear composition:
The most common imbalance occurs when the tears don’t have enough oil composition because of blocked oil glands near the base of the eyelashes. This is the most common cause of Blepharitis.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It commonly occurs when tiny oil glands near the base of the eyelashes become clogged which, as a result, leads to irritated and red eyes.

Dry eyes can be a very painful condition. Be Eye Wise and schedule an appointment with the Dry Eye & Blepharitis Center at Northwest Eye. Because the more you know, the better you see.