10 Causes of Dry Eyes You May Not Have Considered

10 Causes of Dry Eyes You May Not Have Considered

Do you deal with red, itchy, and irritated eyes? If so, you may be wondering what is causing dry eyes and how to stop the problem. After all, irritated eyes can make anything from driving to reading much more of a headache.

When you build awareness of the risk factors, you can take action. Read on to learn about 10 causes of dry eyes you may not have considered!

1. Age Is a Factor

Unfortunately, there is one risk factor that’s impossible to control, and that’s your age. As you get older, especially into your 40s, your eyes’ tear production begins to drop. This translates into eyes that are more sensitive and dry.

Dry eyes coupled with an increased risk of eye diseases make taking care of your eyes critical. Use artificial tears and work with a licensed optometrist to get the best advice for dry eye prevention.

2.  Smoky Surroundings Affect Eyes

Are you an avid camper during the warm summer months? Then you probably spend at least part of your time starting fires to cook food and serve as a gathering point at night. This common ritual provides warmth, but it also generates a lot of smoke.

You might want to limit your time in front of the fire if it’s causing your eyes discomfort. Hand off the fire-starting duties to a friend and avoid sitting downwind of the smoke. Walk away periodically to get some fresh air.

Likewise, you might want to avoid living in places prone to bushfires or wildfires. Dry climates often are the biggest culprits. Big wildfires can create smoky air that lingers for days, if not weeks.

3. Poor Tear Production Leads to Symptoms

The inability to produce enough tears is one of the overarching causes of dry eyes. Anything from hormonal changes to refractive eye surgery can hurt the quality of tears.

Eyelid problems can impact tear production, too. If you suspect any abnormalities or changes to your eyelids, see a medical professional right away.

4. Medical Conditions Can Be a Cause

If you suffer from medical conditions like lupus or arthritis, you may be at an increased risk of dry eye symptoms. Similarly, being deficient in Vitamin A or having an irregular thyroid can contribute.

Your best bet is to meet with your doctor to talk about dry eye treatment. That way they can evaluate you for other symptoms or diagnose health conditions that may be causing your eye problems.

5. Causes of Dry Eyes Include Medications

Are you taking medications to treat chronic or temporary health issues? Even common over-the-counter items, like nasal decongestants, can spur dry eyes. If you’re battling a cold and trying to medicate it, you may be doing so at the expense of your eyes.

Antihistamines and decongestants aren’t the only dry eye causes. Antidepressants and medications used to lower blood pressure are other contributors. Hormonal replacements can impact the eyes, as well.

6. Evaluate Your Indoor Climate Control Settings

Keeping your home too dry during the winter months can lead to issues like dry eyes. While a furnace can keep your thermostat a little higher, humidity is another component of air quality that shouldn’t be neglected.

Sometimes the humidity level can be difficult to manage through your HVAC system alone. Using a humidifier can go a long way toward adding more moisture to the air. Aim for a humidity reading around 40% during the coldest time of year.

7. Screen Time Impacts Your Eyes

If you spend most of your day staring at a computer or your phone, be aware that digital screens cause dry eye. This is because your eye muscles grow tired and you may blink less.

With so many people dependent on screens to do business or stream movies, what can be done? There are a few tricks, one of which is just taking a break.

Stop staring at a screen and rest your eyes so they can lubricate. On top of that, lower your computer screen so that you don’t need to keep your eyes open too wide. A screen situated below eye level means you won’t stress your eyes as much.

8. Contact Lenses Can Be Dry Eye Causes

If you wear contact lenses or you’ve had laser eye surgery, you could be dealing with dry eyes. Contact lenses can lead to desensitized nerves, and this in turn can make your eyes feel dry and itchy.

Dry eyes resulting from eye surgery usually will get better with time. But you’ll want to introduce artificial tears into your routine if you have a persistent problem.

9. Gender Can Determine Likelihood

Are you wondering what is causing dry eyes? Your gender might play into your chances for dry eyes. Women tend to have higher occurrences of dry eye than do men.

Women who’ve experienced childbirth or taken birth control medication are vulnerable. And women who’ve experienced menopause are at high risk, as well. The symptoms of dry eyes can include inflammation due to poor tear production.

10. Smoking Can Trigger Eye Issues

Did you know that smoking can lead to dry eye issues? Much like smoke in the air caused by wildfires, smoke from a cigarette can assault your eyes. Even worse, it can hurt the eyes of anyone standing near you.

Smoke from cigarettes disrupts the tear film in your eyes, and this causes dry eyes. Habitual smoking can contribute to other eye problems, such as macular degeneration, and health conditions like diabetes.

One of the best forms of dry eye prevention is quitting smoking. Plus, you’ll help your lungs and heart get healthier, too. And you won’t pass on second smoke to anyone near you!

Watch for Dry Eye Symptoms

When you’re aware of the causes of dry eyes, you can take action more easily. From gender to screen time, the factors impacting the health of your eyes will vary. Ask your optometrist about the best dry eye treatment that will nourish healthy tear production and reduce irritation.

For more tips to stay on top of your health, check back for new and informative articles.

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