Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

Dry eye syndrome is quite a common eye condition. It is the inability of your eyes to produce enough tears for the lubrication of the eyes. The tears become of little quantity or poor quality. This unreliability in tear production can lead to irritation, inflammation, and destruction of the ocular surface. 


Dry eye is a very uncomfortable condition to have. It causes your eyes to burn or sting. Meanwhile, certain situations like looking at your computer for long periods, riding a bike, or being in an air-conditioned room can exacerbate it. 


What Are the Symptoms?

Most often, the symptoms of dry eyes affect both eyes. The signs and symptoms are:

  • Redness of the eyes.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • A feeling of having sand in your eye.
  • Mucus that is stringy around or in your eyes.
  • Challenge driving at night.
  • Watery eyes; this is how the body responds to irritation of the eyes.
  • Irritation when you wear contact lenses.
  • Eye fatigue or blurry vision.

When Should You See a Doctor?

You should plan to see your doctor if you have had these symptoms for a long time. This would also include irritated eyes, painful eyes, tired or red eyes. Your doctor will examine you to determine the cause of the symptoms. If they cannot come to a diagnosis, they might refer you to an eye specialist.


What Are the Causes of Dry Eyes?

Several things could go wrong with the eye to disrupt the production of good tears. Your tears are formed by three primary ingredients, the lipid layer, the mucus, and the aqueous fluid. The right mixture of these produces healthy tears to lubricate your eyes effectively.


Dry eyes can develop when any of the three layers of the tear meets with a problem. Most likely, it is about increased tear evaporation and decreased production of tears.


Increased Tear Evaporation

Meibomian glands produce the lipid layer in tears in the eyelids. Sometimes, the meibomian glands can become blocked. This commonly happens in people with skin conditions or rosacea. Some common causes of the increase of tear evaporation are:

Blinking less often – This can result from medical conditions or concentrating too hard on some activities. These activities could be working at a computer, reading, or driving.

  • Eye allergies.
  • Preservatives used in eyedrops.
  • Posterior blepharitis – This is also called meibomian gland dysfunction.
  • If you are deficient in vitamin A.
  • Smoke, wind, or dry air.


Decreased Production of Tears

One of the most significant causes of dry eyes occurs with insufficient production of the aqueous fluid. This condition is medically called keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Some of the common causes of this condition are medical conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and others. Desensitivity of the corneal nerve due to contact lens wear, aging, and certain medications are also known factors.


For more on dry eye symptoms and causes, call the Eye Center of Virginia at (757) 919-3500 to reach our office in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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