Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be irritating and uncomfortable. Many different factors can contribute to dry eyes, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments available once it’s determined what’s causing your dry eyes. 

Keep reading to learn more about dry eyes and the possible causes of your dry, irritated eyes!

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eyes happen when your eyes don’t make enough tears to lubricate your eyes properly or produce poor-quality tears that dry out too fast. 

Your tears consist of three layers. The mucus layer is the innermost layer and helps your tear film adhere to the surface of your eyes. It also helps your tears spread evenly over your eyes, keeping them moist. 

The middle layer is the aqueous layer, which is made of mostly water and lubricates your eyes. Finally, there is the top layer, which is oil and seals your tear film, preventing your tears from evaporating too quickly.

Together, the three layers ensure your eyes are comfortable and healthy. A problem with any of these layers can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

There are many possible signs of dry eye. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, but may experience a combination of a few.

Common signs and symptoms of dry eyes can include:

  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Eye fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Trouble driving at night
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Stringy mucus around or in your eyes
  • A feeling of having something in your eyes

Why Are My Eyes Dry and Irritated?

There are many factors that can contribute to dry eye. Some of the common ones include:


While anyone can develop dry eyes, it’s particularly common in people around age fifty and above. Aging is linked to lacrimal gland dysfunction.

These important glands secrete the watery layer of your tear film. As you age, the lacrimal glands naturally lose their ability to produce sufficient aqueous layer. 

Consequently, this considerably affects your eye’s ability to remain properly lubricated, leading to dry eyes.


Dehydration happens when your body loses more water than you can replace. When you’re dehydrated, your body can decrease the production of the aqueous layer, leading to dry eyes.

Health Conditions

Your eye health is connected to your overall health, and some pre-existing health conditions can affect your eye’s ability to produce healthy tears. Autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sarcoidosis, and thyroid disorders can affect the production of tears, leading to dry eyes.

Additionally, a condition such as lagophthalmos, which is the medical term for sleeping with your eyes slightly open, can also cause dry eyes.

When your eyelids don’t fully seal, part of your cornea remains exposed, drying out your eyes. 

Other chronic illnesses like diabetes can also cause dry eyes. This happens when tear secretion is disrupted due to nerve damage from diabetes.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A is vital for clear, healthy vision. Foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, kale, egg yolks, liver, mangoes, and carrots. A deficiency in vitamin A can happen when you don’t get adequate amounts of this vitamin in your diet.

Your eyes require vitamin A to make tears and remain well-lubricated. If they don’t receive enough of this essential vitamin, they can struggle to produce tears, resulting in dry eyes


Many medications could be responsible for your dry eye. You may take over-the-counter medications to alleviate your allergy, cold, or flu, not knowing that some can dry out your eyes.

You may also be taking medications to manage conditions like high blood pressure or anxiety. Both non-prescribed and prescribed medications may have dry eyes as a common side effect.   

These medications cause dry eye in various ways. For instance, they may change the chemical composition of your tears, affecting the tear quality, or reduce the number of tears your eyes make. 

Some of these medications include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Acne medicine
  • Blood pressure drugs like diuretics and beta-blockers

Too Much Screen Time

It can be hard to escape digital screens in today’s modern world. But spending too much time staring at your computer, smartphone, tablet, laptop, or TV screen can take a toll on your eyes. 

All that screen time can dry out and irritate your eyes. On average, you blink fifteen to twenty times every minute. 

With each blink, your eyes are coated with a fresh layer of tears that prevents them from drying out. Your blink rate reduces by more than a half when you focus on digital screens for long hours. 

Minimal blinking means dry, irritated eyes.

The Weather

Different weather conditions can affect the comfort and health of your eyes in the following ways: 

Cold Weather

When it’s chilly outside, we tend to crank up the heaters in our homes and cars to combat the cold weather. The forced dry air from a heater can cause dry eyes as it removes moisture from the atmosphere, making your tears dry up faster.

Hot weather

The hot weather is perfect for spending lots of time outdoors. However, the increased temperature can cause tears to evaporate faster, leaving your eyes more prone to dryness. 

Windy Weather

Exposure to wind can dry out your tears rapidly, causing your eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable.

Humid Weather

Humidity is the amount of moisture or water vapor in the air. When there’s a drop in humidity, your tears evaporate too quickly, which can make your eyes dry and gritty.

Resolve Your Dry, Irritated Eyes

Many things can trigger dry eyes or worsen them. Fortunately, the expert doctors at Jacksonville Eye Center can determine the underlying cause of your dry, irritated eyes and prescribe the most effective treatment to get them under control.

Are dry eyes getting in the way of your everyday life? Schedule an appointment at Jacksonville Eye Center in Jacksonville, FL, today to start your journey toward healthy, comfortable eyes!