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What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is a common problem which can leave your eyes feeling irritated, red and sore. It happens if the tears in your eyes evaporate too quickly. Or it can occur if your eye doesn’t produce tears in the correct way. The eye then dries out and can then become red and inflamed.

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Dry Eye Causes

Dry Eye affects many of us and is more common if you are a man over 65. It is thought that around, one in three over 65, does suffer with dry eye. Although you can develop it at any age.

There are a number of different causes why you may suffer with dry eye syndrome. It may not just be your tear production, but could be due to changes in your hormones or environmental factors. Therefore, it can be difficult to pin point the exact cause.

You can see below some of the reasons you may be suffering with dry eye.

Age Related

As you get older, you are more likely to develop dry eye. This is because later on in life you produce less tears. Also your eyelids may not be as good at covering the surface of your eye with tears.

Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses can increase your chances of having dry eye syndrome. This is because the lens can dry or irritate the eye. Usually, however, using preservative-free lubricant eye drops can help relieve the symptoms. Read more about contact lens safety.

Environmental Factors

Moisture in your eyes is very important. Therefore if your tears evaporate in certain climates, this can trigger your dry eye symptoms. Some environmental factors which may have an effect include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Dry climate
  • High altitude
  • Hot blowing air
  • Smoke
  • Sun
  • Wind

 

There also may be some activities which may have an impact on your dry eye, such as:

  • Working on a computer
  • Writing
  • Reading

 

This is because you do not blink as much when you are concentrating on something visually. Leading to your tears evaporating more quickly, then your eye loses moisture.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones are important to your eye health and help with the production of tears. Therefore if you have any changes to your hormone levels this could cause you to have dry eye syndrome. Possible reasons for your hormonal changes could be:

  • If you are using the contraceptive pill
  • Whilst you are pregnant
  • During the menopause

Medication

Certain medications have side effects, which can cause you to have dry eye. These medicines are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics

Medical Conditions

You may develop dry eye syndrome if you have any structural problems with your eyelids and they cannot close properly. Also dry eye symptoms may arise if you have certain medical conditions, such as: