What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome

Put simply, for some, the cause of dry eyes is decreased tear production. For others, it's increased tear evaporation and an imbalance in the makeup of your tears.

The majority (86%) of cases are caused by progressive and irreversible meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is a dropout and loss of many or all of the meibomian glands in the eyelids, reducing the quality and flow of oil (meibum) to create the necessary outer tear layer. Reduction of the oil layer causes rapid evaporation of the water layer and subsequently the mucin layer, leaving the surface of the eye completely exposed.

Stages of Meibomian Gland Disease:

Dry Eye Syndrome

Risk Factors and Causes that contribute to dry eye disease:

  • Aging

  • Allergies

  • Environment: Extended exposure to wind, smoke, dry climate, dry heat in winter, AC in car

  • Lifestyle and occupational requirements: computer use, environmental exposure, contact lens wear

  • Hormonal changes

  • Insufficient Diet: lacking Vitamin A and Omega 3 (EPA)

  • Dehydration: less than half your body weight in ounces of water a day

  • Blepharitis: an overabundance of bacteria or demodex mite infestation

  • Ocular surface inflammation

  • Anatomical eyelid dysfunction: incomplete blinking or lagophthalmos, out-turning of the lids (ectropion) or in-turning of the lids (entropion), use of a C-Pap machine

  • Medical conditions: Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Sjogren's Syndrome, Thyroid Disorders, Vitamin A Deficiency

  • Medications: high blood pressure meds, antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, acne treatments, birth control, Parkinson's disease medications

  • Eye surgery: any laser eye surgery including LASIK, cataract surgery

Do you think you have dry eye disease?

Contact our office for more information and schedule a comprehensive dry eye evaluation. Not sure? Stop in anytime for a free dry eye screening test. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.

How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed and Treated?
At NVC, we take a comprehensive and customized approach to diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome. First, we will utilize specialized diagnostic testing and imaging to pinpoint the underlying combination of causes for each individual case. It is essential that we treat each factor simultaneously to prevent disease progression and achieve symptom relief.

  • Infrared imaging of the tear film and ocular surface

  • Meibography of the bottom AND top eyelids

  • Corneal topography

  • Blink rate and Lid function analysis

  • Diagnostic Testing:
    Oculus Keratograph 5M: Complete Tear Film and Lid Structure and Function Analysis

Diagnostic Testing:
Oculus Keratograph 5M: Complete Tear Film and Lid Structure and Function Analysis

Diagnosing dry eye


As part of your dry eye evaluation, we will take a small sample of tears from each eye and use the TearLab device to measure osmolarity (the saltiness of your tears). As osmolarity in your tears increase ocular surface cells become damaged.



InflammaDry is the only in-office test that detects elevated levels of MMP-9, an inflammatory marker that is consistently elevated in the tears of patients with dry eye disease. Using a simple 4-step process, InflammaDry recognizes elevated levels of MMP-9, to identify patients that may otherwise be missed with other dry eye testing.

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