Causes of Dry Eyes

You may have Dry Eye Disease if your eyes become dry more than occasionally or especially irritated for long periods. This is because your eyes aren’t producing an adequate amount of tears, or the right type of tears. There are numerous reasons that cause this to happen. Our specialists take the time to accurately determine the cause, and perform a thorough diagnosis to prescribe the relief you need. The most common causes of Dry Eyes include:

causes-content-imageCertain Eye Conditions: Tears are made of a specific mixture of water, oils, proteins, and electrolytes to keep your eyes comfortably lubricated. Symptoms can occur if these are out of balance. An “out-turning” or “in-turning” of the eyelid can also lead to Dry Eyes because it prevents the spread of necessary moisture over the eye’s surface.

General Health: Tear production diminishes as we get older, which is why Dry Eyes is common for people over 50. Hormonal changes, particularly in post-menopausal women, can contribute to Dry Eyes. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, radiation therapy, and other medical conditions can also play a part. Although usually temporary, LASIK eye surgery can cause Dry Eyes as well.

Sjogren’s Syndrome: Chronic Dry Eye is a major symptom of this autoimmune disease. If not treated properly, chronic Dry Eye can severely damage the eye’s surface. For patients not diagnosed with this disease, our Sjogren’s syndrome testing can reveal if they have it. This is valuable to your Dry Eye diagnosis and treatment. And just knowing you have it allows you to seek further treatment that can improve your overall health.

Medications: Common prescription drugs can be a factor. This may may include high blood pressure medications, certain antidepressants, acne medications and birth control pills. Antihistamines, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter pain relievers can also cause Dry Eyes.

Other Causes: Jobs that require a lot of reading, computer work or driving. Environmental factors such as wind, dry air, sensitivity to smoke, and overall air quality.


Our specialists prescribe the most appropriate treatment to the specific cause. Treatments can range from simple eye drops or changing a medication to more complex procedures if necessary.