Learn more about the causes of dry eyes

Man itching eyes at desk

In modern life, there are a multitude of reasons that could be the cause of dry eyes, the ailment that results when the eyes don't make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly.

When the tears evaporate too quickly, you may feel symptoms of discomfort

These can include a gritty feeling of dryness that can vary from sensitive to painful, depending on severity.

There are many things that you can do to help reduce the feelings of dry eye. Understanding the potential causes could be one way to find out how to avoid the problem in future.

There are two main sections under which dry eye could be caused, environmental and physical changes.



Our environment can be the cause of many cases of dry eye. Whether outside or in, and at home or at work, there are several potential factors from temperature or humidity to brightness that could lead to dry eye.

Several cases of dry eye could occur in an office setting. Desk fans, air conditioning, and time spent working on a computer can all be common causes of dry eye, as they can cause disruption of the eye’s lipid layer (from dryness caused by direct airflow, or from lack of circulation).

When you’re outside, heat from sunlight could have a drying effect on your eyes. Cover them up with sunglasses, which will also give you the benefit of UV protection (as well as preventing dust and pollen from landing directly onto your eye.)


Physical Changes

What could potentially be occurring in your body could also be a reason you might experience dry eyes. Ageing is a prevalent cause, as humans produce fewer tears as they get older.

Post-menopausal woman can be particularly affected by hormonal changes that lead to fewer tears being produced.

While there may be some reasons why the frequency of blinking is reduced, it can have a drying effect on your eye by reducing the amount of new tears being spread evenly over the surface.


Other Causes

There are several other causes for dry eyes:

  • Contact lenses – prolonged wearing of contact lenses can be a cause of dry eyes.
  • Medication – certain kinds of medication may have dry eyes listed as a side effect. Please check with your GP to find out if your medication could be responsible.

Illness - Sjögren’s Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) can all be potential dry eye causes.