What Causes Dry Eye and Is It Treatable?

senior man looking pensively into the distance

There are several factors that can contribute toward the development of dry eye. Fortunately, in most instances the symptoms and the underlying cause can be managed. Exactly which treatment will likely work for you will depend on the reason for your dry eye. Here’s what you need to know about some of the most common causes of dry eyes and the treatments that are available.


Reasons for Dry Eye

Here are some of the most common reasons why you might develop dry eye.


The Quality of Your Tear Film is Compromised

One of the main reasons why many people experience dry eye is because the quality of their tear film isn’t as good as it could be. Tear film isn’t just water. In fact, it’s made from a combination of oils, water and proteins. The oils are produced by special glands around the eyes called meibomian glands. Sometimes these glands get clogged with hardened oil deposits that prevent fresh oil from being incorporated into our tear film, causing the eyes to feel more dry and less lubricated than before. When this happens, it’s sometimes referred to as meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD.


You Take Medication That Causes Dry Eye

There are some types of medication that make dry eye more likely. These include medications for depression and high blood pressure. Always check the label on your medication. If dry eye is listed as a side effect and you are affected, you may be able to talk to your doctor about alternatives.


You Have Blepharitis

A condition that is characterized by the inflammation and dryness of the eyelids and skin around the eyes, blepharitis is often linked to dry eyes.


Your Tear Film Drains Too Quickly

Some people find that the tear film that is usually present on the surface of the eyes simply drains away too quickly. It’s not always known why this happens.


You Experience Allergies

Although allergies and dry eye aren’t the same thing, allergies can produce symptoms that are very similar to dry eyes.


Other Causes of Dry Eye

You are also more likely to suffer from dry eyes if you:


  • Are female

  • Wear contact lenses

  • Have undergone laser vision correction surgery

  • Suffer from long term conditions such as diabetes or Sjögren’s disease


Treatment For Dry Eyes

Fortunately, there are a few different treatments for dry eyes. Your eye doctor at Clarke EyeCare Center will be able to help recommend the most suitable treatment for you based on the believed cause of your dry eye. For example:


If your dry eye is thought to be a result of meibomian gland dysfunction, your eye doctor may recommend using warm compresses and massage to release trapped, hardened oil deposits.


Other treatments that work well to decrease the symptoms of dry eye are Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and Radio Frequency (RF). IPL helps to minimize inflammation around the eyes and helps to activate the meibomian glands. RF is a treatment that helps to tighten the eyelids, which can improve the quality of blinks and enhances tear production. RF also has the benefit of building collagen and elastin, which can minimize fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.


If you are experiencing inflammation that is believed to be contributing toward your dry eye, you may be prescribed anti-inflammatory eyedrops to reduce this and help tear film flow more easily. Similarly, there are other prescription eyedrops that can help to stimulate tear film production and reduce the effects of dry eyes.


If your dry eye is thought to be caused by your tear film draining too quickly, you may be recommended to consider a treatment like punctal plugs. These are tiny biocompatible devices that are placed into the tear ducts to slow or prevent drainage.


If you would like more information about dry eyes, it’s causes and treatments, please contact our team at Clarke EyeCare Center in Wichita Falls, TX at 940-905-0700 today.