DED can result from not enough tear production, poor quality of tears causing evaporation from the eye surface, or a combination of both. If any part of the complex system that produces tears is not working properly, DED can result. As your eye dries, it can lead to inflammation on the surface of eye, making the symptoms of DED worse.
You may have a higher risk of having DED if you are: female, older than 40 years old, wear contact lenses, and have had eye surgery (including LASIK).
DED can also be caused by a variety of diseases, medications, and environmental factors.
Diseases that can cause DED include:
- Sjögren syndrome
- thyroid disease
Certain medications such as some antidepressants, diuretics, beta blockers, anti-histamines, hormone replacement therapy, and retinoids can cause or worsen DED. Additionally, dry, windy, smoky, or cold air can cause eye dryness. Looking at a computer or other electronic device for long periods of time can also lead to DED.