Most common causes for dry eyes

Dry eyes can be uncomfortable and make it more difficult to read, use computers or even use your smart phone. Here is our guide to the most common causes
iStock 1088453386


Did you know? Tears are made up of oil, mucus, and water which help sooths the eyes and help provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea.

Tears also protect our eyes from being damaged by dust or “foreign bodies”. However the process of the tear production starts to slow down as we age, which can result in the eyes becoming dry. With lack of moisture in the eyes, the eyelid’s ability to spread tears over the cornea can become less effective. This means that the health of the eye can start to deteriorate. Statistics show that a large majority of people aged 65 and over experience symptoms of dry eyes.


There are some medications that are commonly used that may also leave your eyes feeling dry.

Medications such as:

  • Sleeping pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Anti-depressants
  • Pain relievers
  • Dermatological medications

Any of these medications can really influence the tear production process. Doctors may encourage the older generation to use a more natural approach because these remedies can bring a more balanced effect on the human’s’ system.


The average person blinks every 10 seconds for the eye to stay moist. When you perform certain daily activities, particularly if they involve staring at a tablet, computer, or smartphone, the amount of times you blink decreases. The average person spends around 10 hours looking at a screen daily, which is an extensive amount of strain on the eye. Delaying blinking for a long period of time due to distraction means the eye is not receiving the moisture it needs and can become very dry.

Medical conditions

There are many health related conditions that people suffer with that will affect the tear production.

These conditions could be:

  • Blepharitis
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)
  • Rosacea
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Bell’s palsy
  • HIV

The effect of the condition can cause the tear production process to be disrupted, and the amount produced or the tear’s’ quality is affected. Medication for these particular conditions can cause the dry eyes to worsen. So it is important to highlight this this issue with your doctor if this something that concerns you, or seek alternative treatment like MiBo Thermoflo™

The Environment

Environmental elements such as the sun, wind, or dry climates can play a massive part in the lack of moisture produced in your eyes. This is because certain changes in the atmosphere can cause the tears to evaporate. Often, it cannot be helped due to circumstances, however, it is possible and more convenient to buy over the counter eye drops or salves to increase the moisture in your eyes.


The smoke from lit tobacco is a known irritant for the eyes and can increase the reduction the moisture created by the lacrimal gland in your eyes. This can result in itchiness, red eyes, and a grainy feeling in your eyes. Second hand smokers can also find themselves to suffering from dry eye symptoms, if you are constantly exposed to the tobacco smoke. Statistics show that people who are contact lens wearers and smoke, are nearly twice as likely to have dry eyes.

ultralase logo Find out more

If you have any questions around the topic mentioned or would like to book a free consultation to check your suitability for lens replacement surgery.

Visit Ultralase

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by