What Causes Dry Eyes?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/28/2021 - 11:30
Close Up of irritated red bloodshot eye, dry eyes of a male, dark grey background

When your eyes are healthy and functioning normally it’s easy to take them for granted. But when you experience dry eyes, the burning, blurry or gritty sensation can become all you can think about.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eyes?

Dry eye symptoms can include itching, burning, redness, blurred vision, a gritty sensation, light sensitivity, discharge, and even eye-watering. When your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the quality of your tears is out of balance your eyes aren’t as protected as they should be from foreign contaminants or infection, and your vision can be impaired.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There are three layers that make up healthy tears, including an oil layer, a mucus layer, and a water layer. When any of these layers is out of balance, the water layer can evaporate too quickly or the lubrication is not evenly distributed across the surface of your eye.

Dry eye symptoms are more common with age, but there are also environmental causes and some symptoms can arise due to certain medical conditions. Here's a look at some common causes. 

Windy, dusty or smoky conditions

Wind can evaporate the tears from our eyes faster than they can be replaced, and smoke and dust contain particles and pollutants that can irritate them. 

Staring at computer screens or devices

Dry eye symptoms can be caused by staring at tablets, cell phones and computers simply because we blink less when viewing them. 


Dry eyes can be a common side effect of aging as the processes and tissues associated with healthy tear production begin to deteriorate. 


Women are more susceptible to dry eye symptoms than men due to the hormonal symptoms that they experience. 

Certain Medications

Antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, pain relievers, birth control medication, hypertension medication and more can all cause dry eye symptoms. 

Contact Lens Use

Contact lens use inhibits the normal distribution of tears across the surface of your eyes, causing dry eye symptoms. 

Medical conditions including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease

The damage that these conditions and others can do to the nerves and blood flow to other organs in your body can happen to your eyes as well and disrupt healthy tear production. 

Eyelid problems

When your eyelids are not able to successfully complete the blinking cycle as it were, issues with lubrication can occur. 


When your eyes are sensitive to an allergen, histamine is produced which causes the itching, burning and watering sensation we experience. When too many tears are produced it disrupts the lubrication balance in your eyes. 

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Over time, your meibomian glands (which are responsible for creating the oil layer that keeps your eyes healthy and lubricated) can become blocked or lose their ability to function due to age or other conditions. 

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A is essential for the healthy production of tears. When you have a Vitamin A deficiency, your eyes are unable to produce the amount of healthy tears required to keep them well lubricated and healthy.

How are Dry Eyes Treated?

Depending on what’s causing your dry eye symptoms, there are many different treatments available including lifestyle changes, ointments, drops, procedures, and supplements.

Are you experiencing Dry Eye Symptoms and want to talk to one of our Ocular Aestheticians?

Schedule your appointment today!