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Causes and Symptoms of Dry Eye

Causes and Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Scratchiness or itchiness in the eye
  • Stingy mucus like secretion
  • Feeling something in the eye
  • Decreased vision, usually mild to moderate
  • Tiredness of eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Blurred vision

Please NOTE: Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is the root cause of Evaporative Dry Eye Syndrome.

Associated Factors of Dry Eye Syndrome

  1. Aging Eyes - The tear film peaks at the age of 20, after which it deteriorates.  As people age increasing meibomian gland dysfunction can cause the tears produced to typically have less oil in them.  So it is quite common for the aging population to have evaporative dry eye syndrome.
  2. Environmental Factors - Windy or desert-like climates worsen dry eye symptoms. Air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter reduce the humidity. This environmental problem is especially noticeable upon awakening in the morning or when spending time in an airplane cabin. Work environments which are particularly dusty or windy can also worsen dry eye symptoms in people who have dry eye syndrome.
  3. Medications - Antihistamines and decongestants are commonly associated with dry eye syndrome. Other medications also associated are some pain relievers, tranquilizers, oral contraceptives, beta blockers, diuretics, and anti-depressants. But in reality, almost any medication can be associated with dry eye syndrome.
  4. Contact Lens Use - Soft contact lenses are plastic sponges which tend to absorb tears. Any tear film insufficiency will be worsened as the lens competes with the surface of the eye for whatever moisture is available. Meanwhile, rigid contact lenses need adequate tear film to properly float on the surface of the eye. In either case, contact lens use in dry eye syndrome will result in inappropriate contact between the lens and the ocular surface with a resulting increase in contact lens-related complications.
  5. Computer Use - Sitting in front of a computer, as well as many other activities involving heightened levels of concentration, can be associated with lower blinking rates. With less blinking there is more evaporation, which certainly can worsen dry eye symptoms.
  6. Certain Diseases - Many diseases are associated with dry eye syndrome. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus (systemic lupus erythematosis), thyroid disease, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma, other connective tissue disorders, and even some vitamin deficiencies are common associated diseases.
  7. Eyelid Malfunction – Incomplete blinking or poor lid closure when sleeping are major causes of evaporative dry eye syndrome, independent of the presence or absence of meibomian gland dysfunction.
  8. Menopause - Age related tear film changes are especially symtomatic as women age leading up to and leading to menopause.