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Symptoms of dry eye

Persistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome.  Some people with dry eyes also experience a “foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye.  And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye’s tears.

 

What causes dry eye?

In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don’t produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.  Dry eye syndrome has several causes.  It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40
  • As a part of a nutritional deficiency
  • As a manifestation of diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, or Sjogren’s syndrome
  • As a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications and some birth control pills

Several external factors may cause a mild case of dry eye syndrome to get worse

  • Contact lens wear
  • Smoking
  • Incomplete closure of the eyelids
  • Environmental factors such as living in a climate with low humidity, high-altitude, or high winds
  • Occupational factors like insufficient blinking – (such as when you’re staring at a computer screen all day)