What Causes Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. If you have ever experienced the discomfort of dry, irritated eyes, you may be wondering what causes this condition.  By understanding the underlying causes of dry eye, you can take steps to manage and alleviate your symptoms.


What is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. This can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms, such as dryness, redness, itching, and a gritty sensation in the eyes. The condition can be chronic and may worsen over time if left untreated.


Common Causes of Dry Eye

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of dry eye disease. One common cause is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which occurs when the tiny glands in your eyelids that produce oil become blocked or do not function properly. The oil produced by these glands helps to lubricate the eyes and prevent tears from evaporating too quickly. When the glands are not functioning correctly, the eyes can become dry and irritated.

Another common cause of dry eye is blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelids. This condition can lead to poor tear quality and reduced tear production, resulting in dry eye symptoms. Blepharitis is often caused by bacterial or fungal infections, and it can also be associated with certain skin conditions, such as rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis.

In addition to meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis, there are several other factors that can contribute to the development of dry eye disease. Some medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and certain antidepressants, can cause dryness of the eyes as a side effect. Environmental factors, such as exposure to dry or windy conditions, can also contribute to the development of dry eye.

Certain medical conditions can also increase your risk of developing dry eye disease. Autoimmune disorders, such as Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus, can affect the function of the tear glands and lead to dryness. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also contribute to dry eye symptoms.


Recognizing the Symptoms of Dry Eye

It's important to be able to recognize the symptoms of dry eye so that you can seek appropriate treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Dryness or a gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Redness and irritation
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is recommended to consult with an optometrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


When to See an Optometrist for Dry Eye

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye that are impacting your daily life, it is important to seek medical attention. An optometrist can evaluate your symptoms, perform a comprehensive eye exam, and recommend appropriate treatment options. They may prescribe artificial tears or lubricating eye drops, suggest lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms, or recommend more advanced treatments, such as prescription medications or in-office procedures.


Schedule Your Dry Eye Evaluation with Luke Eye Associates Today

Dry eye disease can be a chronic and uncomfortable condition, but by understanding its causes, you can take steps to manage and alleviate your symptoms. Whether it is meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, or other underlying factors, seeking professional help is key to finding relief. By working with an optometrist, you can develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the root causes of your dry eye and helps you regain comfort and clarity of vision.

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, contact our optometrist to schedule an appointment and find relief. Visit Luke Eye Associates at our office in Midland, Texas, or call (432) 220-2700 to book an appointment today.

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