Understanding the Different Causes of Dry Eye

Tears do much more than simply spill over when you’re sad. Though mostly composed of water, tears have over 1,500 other ingredients working in careful balance to keep your eyes healthy and protected.

Virtually everyone has dry eyes from time to time when exposed to dusty, dry conditions, when they’re tired or when they’ve logged an excess of time spent viewing digital devices. Chronic issues often result from eye conditions and these can add up to serious discomfort and distraction.

No matter the reasons behind your dry eye, visit Accent Vision Specialists in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At this Dry Eye Center of Excellence, the optometric physicians are dry eye experts, focusing on this issue as a key specialty of the practice. They can help you sidestep this annoying eye issue. 

How tears work

To understand dry eye, it helps to know more about the tear layer on your eyes. It’s composed of three primary components, which require a precise balance to work as a successful system. 

Tears also have three major types. Basal tears, secreted constantly, maintain the normal condition your eyes are in most of the time. Reflex tears are created in response to irritants, such as when you’re cutting onions or in a smoky environment. Emotional tears accompany strong emotional reactions, whether sad or happy. 

Reasons behind dry eye disease

There are plenty of reasons why you might have dry eye. It could be part of a natural process, such as getting older, or it may be a symptom of a medical condition. Here are some of the more common reasons why people develop dry eye. 


Tear production declines as you get older, and the problem might be even more severe for some women after menopause. Lower tear production may not be an issue alone, but it might combine with other causes to create dry eye. 


Red, irritated eyes are familiar to seasonal allergy sufferers. Taking an oral antihistamine can help other symptoms, but that can aggravate dry eye. Antihistamine eye drops may be the solution. 

Autoimmune conditions

Sjogren’s syndrome and other autoimmune disorders, including arthritis and diabetes, can reduce tear production. Managing the underlying condition may help improve your eye condition in some cases.


Oil glands in your eyes can clog and inflame, changing the balance of the tear layer. While there’s no cure for blepharitis, there are treatments that reduce inflammation and irritation. 

Computer/device use

Digital screens are an increasingly common way to process information, and they can demand much from your eyes. Many people actually change the way they blink when using screens, contributing to increased tear evaporation and irritation. 

Contact lenses

Contacts can increase tear evaporation and dryness. Changing your wearing patterns or switching to lenses designed for dry eye can help. 

Environmental conditions

Any situation where the air is dry can aggravate your dry eye condition. Low humidity indoors and out can be a factor. Sitting or sleeping near an air vent might contribute. Locations with irritants such as smoke, dust, or chemical fumes may also play a role. 

The causes of dry eye come at you from many directions, and the Dry Eye Center offers a wide range of treatment options. When you’re suffering, contact Accent Vision Specialists. Call the office at 505-984-8989 to book your consultation now.

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