Somewhere between 16 million and 49 million Americans have dry eyes or dry eye disease. If you count yourself among that number, you know how uncomfortable dry eyes can be.
But with such a common ailment, sometimes it’s hard to find the exact cause. And without knowing what’s behind your dry eyes, it can be hard to find the right treatments and relief.
We’ll run through some of the most common reasons your eyes might feel dry and itchy to help you answer the question, “Why are my eyes dry?” Then, hopefully, you can find the treatments you need.
Why Are My Eyes Dry?
Your eyes can become dry when you aren’t producing enough tears, or there’s some sort of disruption to your tear film. There are many varying causes of dry eyes. Most of them boil down to decreased tear production or increased tear evaporation.
Decreased tear production is when your eyes aren’t producing enough water. Increased tear evaporation happens when your tears are evaporating too quickly to be adequately replaced.
Let’s look at some common causes of dry eyes.
Vitamin A Deficiency
Since vitamin A promotes healthy eyes, a diet low in vitamin A can lead to issues with dry eye and other vision impairments. If you aren’t sure whether you’re low in vitamin A, you can ask your doctor for a blood test to see your levels.
You can focus on adding more foods that are rich in vitamin A to your diets such as eggs, carrots, fish, and leafy greens. You could also talk to your doctor about eye drops that contain vitamin A.
Some medications can interfere with the mucus production that helps make up your tears. This can contribute to chronic itchy eyes dry.
Antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, and beta-blockers are the most common medications to have this side effect. Talk to your doctor about your dosage and look into using eye drops in the meantime.
Staring at a screen all day can cause some people to experience eye strain as well as tension headaches. Screens can also lead to dry eyes since those staring at a computer tend to blink less often.
Without blinking, our tears evaporate more quickly, leaving our eyes susceptible to dryness.
If you work in front of a computer, you can make a conscious effort to blink more often and give your eyes a break frequently by looking away from your screen every 20 minutes.
Because contact lenses block oxygen from reaching the cornea, wearing contact lenses all the time can be another cause of dry eyes.
You might experience this to the extreme if you accidentally sleep with your contact lenses in. Follow this link to learn more about what happens when you sleep with your lenses.
If you’re having trouble with dry eyes and contacts, think about switching to eyeglasses.
Take Care of Your Eyes
While this is not an exhaustive list of causes, it’s a good place to start in trying to answer the question, “what causes my eyes dry?” Plus, if one of these things is causing your dry eyes, there are steps you can take to help fix the situation and get your comfort back.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out some of the others in our Health & Fitness category!