Dry, itchy eyes can interfere with even the most mundane tasks, like driving to work or even watching your favourite television show. The uncomfortable sensations are distracting and inconvenient when you are simply trying to go about your day.

If your eyes are constantly dry or itchy, a number of factors could be to blame. Identifying the contributing factor is crucial to alleviating your symptoms. Here are the most common causes of frequently dry, itchy eyes.

Factors that have been known to cause or contribute to dry, itchy eyes include the following:

  • Seasonal allergies (e.g. flowers that bloom during a certain season)
  • Perennial allergies (e.g. dust, smoke, pet dander)
  • Prolonged use of digital devices
  • Improper contact lens use
  • Eye or eyelid infections
  • Dry or windy climates
  • Air conditioners or heaters
  • Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause

Dry eye disease is often to blame in cases of unrelenting dry, itchy or burning eyes. Dry eye disease indicates a problem with the quantity or quality of your eye’s tears.

In a healthy eye, a tear film bathes the surface of the eye. The tear film has three layers: water, mucous and oil. The water provides the moisture, the mucous helps the tears spread over the ocular surface and the oils prevent the tears from evaporating too rapidly.

Your eyes may dry out if they are naturally producing fewer tears than they should. This condition, known as aqueous tear deficiency, may occur due to the normal aging process, certain medications or diseases like diabetes.

Your eyes can also dry out if your tear film lacks the oily component, which is produced and secreted by the meibomian glands in your eyelids. Blocked or clogged glands prevent oils from reaching the tear film; as a result, your tears may evaporate too quickly. This is known as evaporative dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

Whatever the cause of your dry eyes, you do not have to let the symptoms make you miserable. Help is available. Our dry eye ophthalmic specialists will identify the root cause of your symptoms and recommend an appropriate plan to alleviate discomfort and restore comfort to your eyes.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.