Dry eye can arise from various external influences such as your environment or from changes in the body nervous, hormonal, and immune systems.
Over time, inflammatory changes can interfere with the production of normal tears. When this occurs, the eye produces fewer, less effective tears. This results in a tear film that evaporates more quickly and thus provides less moisture and protection for the eye surface.
When tear film protection diminishes, the eyes may experience painful symptoms and damage to the eye surface may occur.
Risk factors include:
- Age – Dry eye is more common among people over age 40 and especially among women around the age of menopause
- People with systemic inflammatory conditions that require medications that can worsen dry eye
- People who take treatment for systemic inflammatory conditions, depression, high blood pressure, allergies, hormone replacement therapy and diuretics
- People suffering from blepharitis and meibomian who are prone to blocked oil glands in the eye
While they are not the root cause of the condition, environmental factors including air pollution, dry weather, and persistent wind can worsen the symptoms of dry eye. Heating and air conditioning can create similar environmental conditions indoors.
Everyday activities such as driving, reading, focusing on a computer screen or watching television can also worsen dry eyes symptoms.