What causes dry eye?

• Changes in the production of tears are a part of the natural aging process.
• Women are more likely to be affected due to changes in hormones secondary to pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.
• Certain medications including, antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medication, and antidepressants can cause a reduction in the amout of tears produced.
• Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, and thyroid disease are more likely to be affected by dry eye.
• Environmental conditions including chronic exposure to irritants such as chemical fumes, smoke, or dry air can cause dry eye symptoms. Staring at a computer screen can also contribute to drying of the eyes.
• Other factors that may contribute to the development of dry eye include chronic inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), long-term use of contact lenses, and refractive surgeries such as LASIK.