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Common Dry Eye Causes and Effects 

Julian Carter


dry eye causes

Dry eye is an ocular condition that happens due to insufficient production of tears or improper functioning of your tear glands. 

It can lead to an unpleasant sensation in your eyes and, in some cases, vision impairment. But what causes dry eyes?

Knowing the causes of dry eyes are essential for effective management and treatment. 

This article discusses some common dry eye causes and risk factors to consider, covering the harmful effects of this condition.

What causes dry eyes

Dry eyes occur due to various causes which affect the tear glands. It mainly happens due to decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation.

The lacrimal glands, responsible for producing tears, may stop functioning properly due to various factors. It could lead to insufficient production or poor quality of tears.

Tear production can decline due to aging, hormonal changes, medical conditions, and side effects.

Another cause of dry eyes is the rapid evaporation of tears. It could occur due to environmental factors like wind, air conditioning, and heating systems.

Tear evaporation can also increase due to reduced blinking caused by extended screen times.

Want to know more about the Dry Eye Allergy? Read our article: Understanding Dry Eye Allergy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Common dry eye causes and risk factors

The common dry eye causes include environmental factors, age, medicines, medical conditions, and digital screen usage.

The following factors can contribute to decreased tear production and increased evaporation, leading to dry eyes.

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Environmental factors: Air conditioning, heating, and exposure to wind may contribute to tear evaporation, potentially causing dry eyes. 

Age and hormonal changes: Aging and hormonal shifts, including menopause, may be associated with decreased tear production. It is one of the most common dry eye causes.

Medications and medical conditions: Some medications and medical conditions, such as Antihistamines and Diabetes, may be associated with dry eye symptoms.   

Digital screen usage: Extended screen times can reduce the rate of blinking, which may lead to insufficient tear distribution.

Contact lens wear: Improper lens care or prolonged lens wear can affect tear film stability.

Environmental allergens: Allergens like pollen and pet dander can cause dry eyes by triggering inflammation.

Understand the link between Cataract surgery and Dry Eyes with our article: Is it Normal to Have Dry Eye After Cataract Surgery: Unveiling the Truth

When using screens for long hours, follow the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds) to protect your eyes.

What are the effects of dry eyes

Dry eyes can lead to various visual concerns and discomfort, including blurry vision and headaches. Dry eyes can damage the cornea in severe cases, leading to visual impairment. 

Let us discuss common queries about the effects and symptoms of dry eyes:

Can dry eyes cause blurry vision? Yes, dry eyes can cause blurry or fluctuating vision due to a lack of tears, affecting clarity of vision.

Can dry eyes cause headaches? Dry eyes can cause eye strain, tension, and headaches, especially after prolonged screen use or visually demanding activities.

dry eye causes headaches
Women having headaches due to dry eyes

Can dry eyes cause blindness? If left untreated, dry eyes can cause corneal damage and vision impairment but rarely cause complete blindness.

Timely management and treatment of dry eyes is crucial for preserving vision and ocular health. Always consult a healthcare expert for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Worried whether Dry Eyes can lead to blindness? Read our article: Can Dry Eyes Cause Blindness? Exploring the Facts

Dry eyes can lead to discomfort and impaired vision at night, potentially impacting activities like driving or reading in low light conditions.

Summing up

Dry eye is an ocular condition that happens due to decreased production of tears or increased evaporation of tears. 

Various factors, such as age, hormones, medications, medical conditions, screen usage, and environmental factors can influence these causes.

Understanding the various dry eye causes can help individuals take steps toward prevention and effective management. 

Paying attention to ocular health by making lifestyle adjustments and seeking professional guidance can help reduce dry eye symptoms.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What deficiency can cause dry eyes?

An omega-3 fatty acids deficiency can cause dry eyes, as these essential fats are vital for a healthy tear film.

What autoimmune causes dry eyes?

Dry eyes can occur due to an autoimmune condition called Sjögren’s syndrome, which causes the body’s immune system to attack its moisture-producing glands.

What disease causes dry eyes?

Diseases like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and thyroid disorders can contribute to dry eyes as a secondary symptom due to their systemic effects.

What causes dry gritty eyes?

Various environmental factors, such as dust, pollen, irritants, and inadequate tear production, can contribute to eye dryness and grittiness.

What causes dry eyes at night?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos (sleeping with the eyes open) can cause dry eyes due to reduced blinking during sleep. 

Exposure to fans and air-conditioning can also cause dry eyes at night.

What causes dry eyes and headaches?

Extended screen use or concentrating on tasks may result in eye strain and subsequent headaches, frequently linked to dry eyes.

What causes dry eyes with contacts?

Contact lenses can lead to reduced oxygen flow to the cornea and absorption of tears, leading to dryness, especially if worn for extended periods.

What deficiency causes dry skin around the eyes?

Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry skin around the eyes, as it plays a vital role in skin health and moisture regulation.

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