Blog Hero

Why Are My Eyes So Dry?

Book Appointment Now
A woman rubbing her dry eyes.

Have your eyes ever felt uncomfortable in the morning? Have you ever felt something in your eye when you know nothing is there? You might want to talk to an eye doctor about dry eye disease if you have. 

Dry eye can be painful and irritating. If you use contact lenses, it could increase your risk of eye infection. It’s important to understand what can cause dry eye, how you can prevent it, and treatment options to help bring comfort and relief.

What is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease is a common eye condition that affects tear production and quality. Healthy tears protect your eyes from foreign substances like dirt and dust particles. They also keep your eye surface clear so you can see correctly.

When you don’t have enough tears, or when they’re lower-quality, you may experience symptoms of dry eye disease. Some common symptoms of dry eye disease include:

  • Stinging sensation
  • Eye redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Gritty feeling

Dry eye can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Some people produce more tears in response to dry eye. This might be confusing since tears should help lubricate your eyes. However, the tears produced in response to dry eye are mostly water. They don’t contain the vital chemicals to help protect your eyes.

In some severe cases, dry eye can increase your risk of infection since your eyes are less protected. Dryness can also increase your risk of scratching the eye surface.

What Causes Dry Eye Disease?

There are a few causes of dry eye, ranging from environmental factors to aging to your lifestyle. It’s essential to know the causes of dry eye disease so you can identify them in your own life and check on your risk levels.

Aging

Your eyes may start showing signs of aging beginning in your mid-40s. These signs can include symptoms of dry eye. Reduced tear production is a natural part of the aging process as your lacrimal glands cannot produce as many tears as when you were younger.

Allergies

Seasonal allergies like hay fever and ragweed can cause itchiness and irritation. Rubbing your eyes can cause rapid tear evaporation, causing redness, dryness, and inflammation.

Smoking

Smoking can cause severe complications for your eye health. Cigarette smoke contains many chemicals and can aggravate dry eye symptoms. These chemicals break down the quality of your tears, leaving your eyes unprotected and increasing your risk of eye infection. The smoke itself can also lead to more rapid tear evaporation. 

Home Environment

Your home environment can significantly impact your risk of developing dry eye. If you sleep next to a blowing air conditioner or your living space is too dry, your tears may evaporate too quickly. Rapid evaporation can leave your eyes dry and irritated. 

A close-up image of a woman's eye

Screen Use

We spend a lot of time on screens. Whether it’s your laptop, tablet, or phone, your eyes constantly focus on small text and images. When we use screens, we tend to blink less often. Less blinking means a lack of moisture reaching your eye surface, causing dry eye. Screen use can also lead to digital eye strain and more frequent headaches.

Dehydration

Water helps your body produce tears. When you’re dehydrated, you don’t produce as many tears. Keeping yourself hydrated isn’t only a part of your eye health. Hydration is essential to maintaining your overall well-being, like maintaining clear skin, promoting good kidney function, and reducing disease by getting rid of waste.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

Meibomian glands produce an oil called meibum. Meibum is an essential ingredient in your tears and helps ensure your tears are of high quality. Meibomian gland dysfunction causes inflammation, leading to a blockage that stops the meibum from joining the tear film. Your tears evaporate more quickly without the oil, leading to dry eye.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It can cause your eyelids to become red, dry, and puffy. When your eyelids are dry, skin can become flaky and build up in your tear film, which can cause irritation and dry eye symptoms.

How Can I Prevent Dry Eye?

Preventing dry eye can start with understanding your environment. Windy places, like the countryside, for example, are drier. This constant exposure to wind can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly. You can adjust your home environment to prevent dry eye by adding a humidifier. You can also avoid direct air from an air conditioner or fan when sleeping.

You can also prevent dry eye by staying hydrated and drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily. If you smoke, you might consider quitting since your risk of developing dry eye is higher than non-smokers.
Getting a regular eye exam from your eye doctor can also help you prevent dry eye or catch the symptoms first so your doctor can work with you to create a treatment plan.

How is Dry Eye Treated?

Dry eye treatment depends on the cause of your condition. Your eye doctor can work with you to develop a treatment plan. In some cases, the same measures you use to prevent dry eye, like adding a humidifier to your space or staying hydrated, can help treat dry eye. 

Your eye doctor may recommend a warm compress over your eyes to stimulate your tear ducts in milder cases. Eye drops and artificial are also helpful because they add lubrication to your eye surface. 

Every case of dry eye is different, and every patient’s dry eye therapy is unique. Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical to developing your personalized treatment plan, and seeing your eye doctor can help maintain your long-term eye health for years to come.
 

Written by Westmount Optometrists

At Westmount Optometrists, we know that eye care goes beyond how well you see. Since 1973, we have been providing quality care to families in London, and we’re happy to see generations stay with us for ongoing care.

Our practice was founded on medical science, compassion, and your continued trust and support. The team at Westmount Optometrists is committed to providing you with the eye care your entire family needs. From comprehensive eye examinations to eye disease diagnosis and management for all ages, we’re here to support your vision.

More Articles By Westmount Optometrists

Frames We Love!

Where To Find Us

At the corner of Springbank Drive and Wonderland Road, our clinic offers plenty of parking out front.

Our Address

  • 585 Springbank Dr.
  • London, ON N6J1H3

Talk to Us

Insurance Providers We Direct Bill

Read Our Blog

6 Reasons Why Scleral Lenses Can Solve Your Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye

Dry eye symptoms can make your eyes feel tired, irritated, and uncomfortable. Much like a runny nose or plugged ears, dry eye can feel impossible to ignore. Except dry eye doesn’t resolve quite as easily as we’d like.Dry eye can be frustrating to deal with, but there are many treatments available to help alleviate the […]

Read More…

May 4, 2022
Westmount Optometrists

Why Are My Eyes So Dry?

Eye Care, Eye Diseases

Have your eyes ever felt uncomfortable in the morning? Have you ever felt something in your eye when you know nothing is there? You might want to talk to an eye doctor about dry eye disease if you have.  Dry eye can be painful and irritating. If you use contact lenses, it could increase your […]

Read More…

May 4, 2022
Westmount Optometrists

How To Clean Polarized Sunglasses

Glasses Care, Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are a popular choice for anyone who loves the outdoors. These special lenses reduce glare while keeping your vision clear.  These sunglasses are usually on the more expensive side, especially if you get prescription lenses. Taking proper care of your polarized lenses will help keep them working properly for years to come.  What […]

Read More…

May 4, 2022
Westmount Optometrists

Dry eye symptoms can make your eyes feel tired, irritated, and uncomfortable. Much like a runny nose or plugged ears, dry eye can feel impossible to ignore. Except dry eye doesn’t resolve quite as easily as we’d like. Dry eye can be frustrating to deal with, but there are many treatments available to help alleviate […]

Read More…

Have your eyes ever felt uncomfortable in the morning? Have you ever felt something in your eye when you know nothing is there? You might want to talk to an eye doctor about dry eye disease if you have.  Dry eye can be painful and irritating. If you use contact lenses, it could increase your […]

Read More…

Polarized sunglasses are a popular choice for anyone who loves the outdoors. These special lenses reduce glare while keeping your vision clear.  These sunglasses are usually on the more expensive side, especially if you get prescription lenses. Taking proper care of your polarized lenses will help keep them working properly for years to come.  What […]

Read More…

Follow us on Instagram

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax