Dry eye is a pretty common eye condition. It can also be pretty annoying, interrupting daily activities. In order to treat, it’s important to understand common causes of dry eye:
Autoimmune Disease – Studies show that chronic dry eye can be a symptom of several autoimmune disorders such as lupus, Sjögren’s Syndrome, Grave’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin Deficiency – Dry eyes may be linked to a nutritional deficiency – namely a vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A rich food sources include sweet potatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, pumpkin and carrots. A well- balanced diet can help maintain the natural health and lubrication of the eyes.
Contact Lens Wear – Many long-term contact lens wearers will gradually develop dry eyes over the course of use. Research suggests that long-term wearing of contact lenses can interfere with the natural layer of tears that coats and protects the surface of the eyes. Contact lenses can lead to the evaporation of this natural layer of lubrication, causing the eyes to feel dry and gritty. Contact lens wearers can combat dry eyes by swapping out lenses for glasses regularly or by opting for a more moisturizing pair of disposable contact lenses.
Excessive Screen Time – Most of us spend several hours a day staring at a computer screen, smartphone and television. Excessive screen time can significantly lower how often you blink your eyes, and blinking is the natural way your eyes re-lubricate with a secretion of tears, mucus and natural oils. If you spend a significant amount of time in front of a screen, take frequent breaks throughout to relax your eyes.
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications – Dry eyes are a common side effect because medications will often impact natural tear production. Many medications can lead to dry eyes, however, most notably are antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, sleeping pills, diuretics, blood pressure drugs and painkillers. If you’re eyes are dry due to a new medication, talk to your doctor about an appropriate alternative.
Aging – As we age, the body begins to gradually decline. The eyes, along with the rest of the body, also experience the effects of aging. With age, the tear ducts can suffer inflammation and produce fewer tears, resulting in dry eye.
Corrective Eye or Eyelid Surgery – Dry eye can be a common side effect of eye or eyelid surgeries. Those who undergo these types of procedures can experience dry eyes for up to six months following their surgery.