Dry eye occurs as a result of either insufficient tear production, which would normally serve to lubricate, nourish, and protect the surface of the eye, or excessive tear film evaporation. Both lifestyle as well as aging can contribute to the development of dry eye.
Around the age of 60 years old, tear flows decrease, thus drying the eyes. Furthermore, women are more affected by dry eye during menopause, as hormonal changes contribute to such conditions.
Ultimately, dry eye is a multifactorial disorder that is caused by inflammation of the surface of the eye, neurotrophic deficiency, and dysfunction of the meibomian glands.
Additional causes of dry eye are climate changes, spending long hours in an air-conditioned or low-humidity room, haze and smoke pollution.
Furthermore, reading or working on a computer for long periods of time can cause dry eye. Taking breaks from these activities to rest and blink the eye helps to keep the eye from drying.
Contact lenses also contribute to eye dryness, as soft contact lenses avoid hardening by absorbing tears. If eyes are dry to begin with, contact lenses may exacerbate the symptoms of dry eye.
Additionally, certain health conditions and medications can cause dehydration and lead to the development of dry eye. A vitamin A deficiency, or diseases such as Parkinson’s, Thyroid conditions, and Sjogren’s syndrome can also cause eye dryness, while long-term medications such as acne pills, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and decongestants may also worsen dry eye symptoms.