Dry Eye FAQ

Why does dry eye occur?

Dry eye occurs when the quantity and/or quality of tears fails to keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. Dry eye affects millions of adults in the U.S. and an increasing number of younger patients as we blink up to 35% less frequently while looking at our computers or phones. Dry eye can occur when basal tear production decreases, evaporation increases, tear composition is imbalanced or the glands in our eyelids that produce the oily portion of our tears are compromised.

What are tears and how do they relate to dry eye?

In a healthy eye, tears are responsible for the perfectly smooth ocular surface, which allows clear vision. Tears also clean and lubricate the eye. Every time we blink, a fresh layer of tears, called the tear film, spreads over the eye. The tear film is important for keeping the eye moist and comfortable. When the eye stops producing enough tears or tears evaporate too quickly, the health of the eye and vision are compromised.

How is dry eye diagnosed?

To measure the quality & stability of the tear film, we noninvasively measure the tear film breakup time in less than 30 seconds.

What can cause dry eye?

There are many factors that affect dry eye include age, medications, commercial eye makeup removers, screen time, autoimmune diseases and the environment. Here are some of the most common causes:


Staring at computer screens, televisions or electronic readers for long periods of time, exposure to air conditioning, wind, smoke, and dry climates.


Dry eye syndrome often gets worse as we age because tear production decreases. Dry eye is more common in people age 50 years or older.


Women are more likely to develop dry eye. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and after menopause have been linked with dry eye as well as an increased risk for autoimmune disorders.


Antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, medications for anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and high blood pressure have been associated with dry eye.

Medical Conditions

Rosacea (an inflammatory skin disease) and blepharitis (an inflammatory eyelid disease) can disrupt the function of the Meibomian glands.

Autoimmune disorders

Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Vitamin A deficiency are associated with dry eye.

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