What Are the Main Causes of Dry Eye?

May 15, 2023

Many people experience occasional eye symptoms like burning, itching, or watering. For people with dry eye, the condition continues to bother them either on and off or constantly. If you have chronically dry eyes, your Heart of Texas Eye Care team will find out why and help you achieve lasting relief. 

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a condition characterized by burning, watering, sensitivity, and other symptoms. It happens when your eyes do not make enough tears or the tears they make are not complete. Normal tears form a layer called a tear film that remains on the surface of your eye, protecting and lubricating it. If you have dry eye, some part of that tear film may be missing. 

Dry eye Austin & Dripping Springs

What Are the Main Causes of Dry Eye?

Your tear film has several layers, including a layer of mostly water. A layer of oils on top of this water layer keeps it from evaporating too quickly. Dry eye comes in three primary forms:

Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye

Tears are formed in the lacrimal glands in the outer corners of your eyes. If these glands do not produce enough tears, your eyes will feel dry. This often occurs when the lacrimal glands are inflamed, which can happen due to an autoimmune condition or other factors. 

Evaporative Dry Eye

This condition occurs when your tears are missing their oil layer, letting them evaporate too quickly. The majority of these dry eye cases are caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), a blockage of the glands that make oil for your tears. These glands are found along the edges of your eyelids. 

Mixed Dry Eye

Both types of dry eye are fairly common, making it likely that some people will experience both. This can make their condition more challenging to treat, but your Heart of Texas ophthalmologists have extensive experience in managing this type of dry eye with a customized treatment plan

The Path to Clearer Vision Starts Here

How is Dry Eye Treated?

You have many options for treating your dry eye. Your ophthalmologist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that gives you relief. Some people need to try a few different treatments to find the best ones for them. Treatment methods include:

  • Artificial tears, a safe, easily available option
  • Warm compresses to help unblock glands
  • Avoiding triggers like smoke or allergens
  • Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements
  • Medicated eye drops that trigger your eyes to produce more tears
  • Medicated eye drops that reduce inflammation
  • In-office treatments that reduce inflammation or open blocked glands

Combining these treatments often helps people achieve their maximum benefits. By working with the Heart of Texas team, most people can enjoy long-lasting relief with minimal side effects. 

Dr. McIntire is one of the best doctors of any kind I have ever encountered. I am grateful for how she has improved my vision. Her staff is competent, professional, friendly, and helpful. They are well versed in using the latest diagnostic technologies. 5 stars all the way!

Take the Next Step

If you’d like to learn more about dry eye, schedule a consultation with our Heart of Texas Eye Care team, serving Dripping Springs, Austin, Kyle, Bee Cave, Marble Falls, and other surrounding areas. Contact us at (512) 213-2220 today!

*Individual results may vary