Causes of dry eye

What are the causes of dry eye?


Dry eye can be related to certain circumstances characterised by a reduction in the production of tears:


  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Certain drugs such as hormone treatments, antihistamines or antidepressants[i]
  • Some autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or even diabetes...

Others promote the evaporation of tears1in particular inflammation, which can damage the Meibomian glands and mucus cells.




Many factors can induce inflammation of the eye and dry eye:


  • Air pollution[ii],[iii], fumes; several studies have shown that people living in urban areas have higher risk of dry eye[iv]
  • Wearing contact lenses[v] (especially in the case of wearing for extended periods with inappropriate products or inadequate maintenance)
  • Make up
  • The use of eye drops containing preservatives[vi]
  • An infection or an eye allergy
  • Surgery on the eye or eyelids
  • Dermatological diseases affecting the eyelids
  • Working for extended periods of time on screens that decrease blinking [vii].

In addition, wind, air conditioning and the dryness of the air worsens tear evaporation and dry eye. Other circumstances increase the risk of dry eye: a recent study showed that lack of sleep is often associated with dry eye[viii].


More information about dry eyes:


The Dr.Alex Shortt opinion


What are the causes of dry eye?



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[i] Creuzot-Garcher C. Dry eye related to systemic medications. French Journal of Ophthalmology 2009 ; 32 : 64-70

[ii] Wolkoff P. External eye symptoms in indoor environments. Indoor Air. 2017 Mar;27(2):246-260

[iii] Moen BE et al. Can air pollution affect tear film stability? A cross-sectional study in the aftermath of an explosion accident. BMC Public Health. 2011 Apr 14;11:235

[iv] Um SB et al. Spatial epidemiology of dry eye disease: findings from South Korea. Int J Health Geogr. 2014 Aug 15;13:31.

[v] Markoulli M et al. Contact lens wear and dry eyes: challenges and solutions. Clinical Optometry 2017:9 41–48

[vi] Baudouin C, Labbé A, Liang H, Pauly A, Brignole-Baudouin F. Preservatives in eyedrops: The good, the bad and the ugly. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 2010;29:312-334

[vii] Rosenfield M. Computer vision syndrome: a review of ocular causes and potential treatments. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2011 Sep;31(5):502-15

[viii] Kawashima M et al. The association of sleep quality with dry eye disease: the Osaka study. Clinical Ophthalmology 2016;10 : 1015–1021