Causes of Dry Eye

Dry eye doesn’t sound like a huge problem, however, it can disrupt your life and interfere with you wearing a standard pair of contacts comfortably. You may question why you’re suffering from this condition and what you can do to combat the discomfort.

General Information About Dry Eye

Dry eye is a condition that occurs when your eyes are dry. They don’t lubricate themselves properly. Some people only experience dry eye when they’re in an air-conditioned room or after looking at a computer screen for hours on end. This, however, subsides once they’re taken out of the situation with the root cause. For others though, the condition is chronic. With chronic dry eye, you experience recurring bouts of dry eye, not from a particular cause, although known irritants may further worsen the problem.

If you have dry eye, you may experience a stinging, scratchy, or burning sensation in one or both of your eyes. For some individuals, the sensation feels as though something is in their eyes. Stringy mucus could form around or in your eye. Sometimes, you suffer from a sensitivity to light as a result. Your eyes may visibly appear red. Dry eye can affect your ability to drive or wear contacts. You could also experience eye fatigue.

Causes of Dry Eye

Dry eyes stem from a lack of tears. The cause may be from poor composition, decreased tear production, or increased tear evaporation.

You may not be able to produce enough tears to adequately lubricate your eyes. Often, age plays a role in this process. You could have a damaged tear duct due to radiation or inflammation and certain medications and medical conditions can contribute. For instance, diabetes, lupus, and thyroid disorders all can affect how well your eyes produce lubrication. LASIK eye surgery can also inhibit your ability to produce tears.

On the other hand, your tears may evaporate faster than normal. Generally, this is a cause of temporary bouts of dry eye as opposed to chronic dry eye. However, if you have an eyelid problem, your tears may dry faster than normal.

An imbalance in the composition of your tears can occur. Your tears consist of three main components: mucus, oil, and water. Any imbalance with these three elements can result in dry eye. For instance, you may have a clog in your meibomian gland – the small glands located along the edge of your eyelids. A clogged meibomian gland is most common in individuals with skin disorders like rosacea as well as those with blepharitis.

Dry eye is common, but it’s usually manageable with eye drops or a medication. Once you recognize the signs, contact an eye doctor at Vision Associates for an appointment.