You can develop dry eyes if your eyes are not producing enough tears. You can also develop dry eyes if your eyes are producing tears, but they are not keeping your eyes moist. Tears help wash away foreign materials and keep the surfaces of your eyes smooth. They can also prevent your eyes from getting an infection.

senior-couple-smiling_compressed1Dry eyes can be uncomfortable and cause burning. Some people experience dry eyes all of the time while others experience it at certain times. For example, you may only experience dry eyes while you are looking at your computer. Both eyes are typically affected by this condition.

Most people will develop dry eyes at some point. The good news is this condition usually is not serious. In most cases, over-the-counter remedies can treat this condition.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

Low production of tears is the main cause of dry eyes. This is referred to as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which is also known as dry eye syndrome. Here is a list of things that can cause dry eyes:

Old Age

Women are more likely to suffer from dry eyes after they go through menopause.

Vitamin A deficiency

This problem is rare in the United States, but it can cause dry eyes.

Certain Medical Conditions

Diabetes, infections and a thyroid disorder can cause dry eyes.

Low-Quality Tears / Damaged Tear Glands

Tears are made up of mucus, water, and oils. An imbalance of one of these things can cause low-quality tears. Dry eyes can also occur if your melbomian glands get clogged. The melbomian glands produce the oil.

Certain Medications

  • High blood pressure medications
  • Birth control pills
  • Decongestants
  • Certain acne treatments
  • Antidepressants

Environmental Factors

  • Dry air
  • Wind
  • Riding a bike
  • Flying in an airplane
  • Driving
  • Reading
  • Working at a computer

Other Factors

  • Inflammation of the eyelids
  • Long-term contact us
  • Blinking problems

EyedropperWhen to Call a Doctor

You should call your doctor if your eyes have been itchy, red or irritated for a long time. You should also contact your doctor if you experience blurred vision.

Your doctor may refer you to an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

The specialist will thoroughly examine your eyes. They can also measure tear volume and how quickly your tears evaporate.

Treating Dry Eyes

The purpose of treatment is to increase the production of tears. You can use over-the-counter treatments to take care of this problem.

Eye Drops

Eye drops are the main treatment used to remedy this problem. They are easy to apply and affordable. Clear Eyes, Allergan and CIBA are some of the most popular eye drop brands.

Doctor’s Care

You probably can treat this problem without a doctor. If you need a medical treatment, then your doctor will likely recommend topical corticosteroids or cyclosporine eye drops. Your doctor may also recommend that you increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids or take an omega 3 fatty acid supplement.

Complications

Dry eyes can cause pain and an infection. Scarring and vision loss can also develop. However, it is rare to develop permanent vision loss from dry eyes.

Preventing Dry Eyes

  • Don’t smoke
  • Wear sunglasses when Outside
  • Blink often while reading or looking at the computer
  • Use a humidifier