What causes dry eye?
Dry eye can occur when tear production decreases, tear evaporation increases, or tear composition is imbalanced. Factors that can contribute to dry eye include the following:
- Medications including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause, and medications for anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and high blood pressure have been associated with dry eye.
- Advancing age is a risk factor for declines in tear production. Dry eye is more common in people age 50 years or older.
- Rosacea (an inflammatory skin disease) and blepharitis (an inflammatory eyelid disease) can disrupt the function of the Meibomian glands.
- Autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Vitamin A deficiency are associated with dry eye.
- Women are more likely to develop dry eye. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after menopause have been linked with dry eye.
- Windy, smoky, or dry environments
- Seasonal allergies
- Prolonged periods of screen time
- Laser eye surgery