The condition of dry eye occurs when your body produces insufficient or poor quality of tears, or it drains tears out of the eye too quickly for proper lubrication. This can occur for a number of reasons, but most cases can be boiled down to these top five categories dry eye causes.
Medications. Some common medications may cause dry eye, especially over extended periods of use. These include certain antidepressants, antihistamines and oral contraceptives. Certain types of pain-killing NSAIDS may also lead to dry eye.
Nutritional deficits. The Mayo Clinic cites, “Eating a diet that is low in vitamin A, which is found in liver, carrots and broccoli, or low in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, walnuts and vegetable oils,” as a top cause of dry eye. While these are the most common nutritional deficits, there are a number of issues related to nutrition that may be a cause of dry eye.
Anatomical issues. Dry eye may simply be the result of drainage ducts in your eyes that are too large or that drain too quickly for the amount of fluid produced. In addition, abnormalities in the eyelid such as damaging protrusions or anything that keeps the eyelid from sealing correctly, are also a top cause of dry eye.
Tear composition. Essentially, your tears are made up of a fine balance of oils, proteins, water and electrolytes. If this balance is upset for any reason, the result is fluid that does not properly coat and protect your eyes. Possible causes of composition issues are too numerous to list, but your doctor can help analyze possible contributing factors and prescribe the appropriate treatments.
Environment. Particularly dry, dusty or smoky environments often cause dry eye. Many workplaces, especially places such as mines, machine shops and construction sites, are particularly damaging to your eyes. Proper safety goggles will help to some extent, but eye drops or other protecting measures may be required as well. In addition, if you have to keep contacts in for long hours every day, you may suffer the effects of dry eye as a result.