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What are causes of dry eye?

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Quick Answer

Dry eyesareprimarilycaused by an insufficient production of tears, as stated by Mayo Clinic. The condition iscommon amongthe elderly, in post-menopausal women, those with certain medical conditions, people who undergo laser eye procedures andindividuals with impaired glands.Other contributing factors include eyelid problems,drugs and environmental agents.

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What are causes of dry eye?
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Full Answer

Tears are essential in keeping the eyes healthy and in maintaining optimal vision. These organsare constantly coated by a thin film of tears, which is divided into three layers: outer, oily layer for lubrication; middle, watery layer for moisture and inner; andmucous layer for uniform spreading over the surface of the eyes. Disturbances of the tear film can lead to dry eyes.

Dry eyes can be categorized into two types: aqueous tear deficient and evaporative. The former is characterized by a dysfunction of thelacrimal glands, which produce the middle, watery coating, while the latter is associated with swollen meibomian glands, which secrete the outer, fatty layer, as explained by the National Eye Institute.

Dry eyes arealso prevalent in people with eyelid problems, including those with dermal disease on or around the folds, conjunctivitis, exposure keratitis, ectropion and entropion. Cosmetic surgery on the eyelids mayalso result in dry eyes. Thyroid diseases, Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis are also known to cause dry eyes, according to the National Eye Institute. Medicationsthat can trigger dry eyes include decongestants, antihistamines and some anti-depressants. Wind and humid air can also lead to dry eyes.

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