Dry Eye Syndrome – Its Causes and Symptoms


Dry eye refers to a medical condition where your eyes fail to produce the sufficient lubrication and moisture on its surface, i.e., the tears. No moisture leads to dryness in eyes that may cause irritation or other symptoms that would require further consultation and medication.

The eyes may turn red and inflamed because of dryness. It is most commonly seen in women who are going through the postmenopausal issue.

Dry eyes syndrome may result from a number of causes, some of them being –

• Dusty and windy environments

• Increasing age

• Seasonal allergic reactions

• Laser eye surgery

• Vitamin A deficiency

• Diabetes

• Birth control pills

Common Symptoms Of Dry Eye

Symptoms of dry eye are divided into two types, visual and physical. The symptoms associated with both the types are discussed below.


Blurred Vision: It is one of the major symptoms of dry eye in which the objects surrounding us, which may either be near or far, start appearing faintly and out of focus. Blurred vision makes it difficult to look around with precision.

Photophobia: It is a symptom in which one experiences sensitivity to light, resulting in irritation in the eye and headaches. Photophobia happens because the light that enters the eye starts scattering instead of reflecting due to dry eyes. This leads to discomfort in the eyes and a condition which may worsen if not tended.

Trouble In Driving At Night: Usually when the darkness sets in, the eye pupil becomes large so that more light can make its way through the eyes. But, in case of dry eyes, the same light scatters and leads to vague vision. Due to this scattering, people see halos, i.e., circles around the sources that provide light at night. Thus driving at night becomes difficult as the light of the headlights from other vehicles may make this symptom worse.

Double Vision: It is a symptom of dry eye that leads to serious vision problems. In this situation, the object image that a person sees in front of him seems to be duplicated.


Eye Redness: Redness in the eyes is a symptom of dry eye. Redness in the eyes is caused due to inflamed or dilated blood vessels on the sclera which is the white surface background surrounding the eye. Dry eyes sometimes lead to irritation and swelling of the eyes, which, in turn, make them red.

Pain In The Eyes: People suffering from dry eye syndrome may experience pain in the eyes which may be mild or severe varying from person to person. This pain usually resides on the surface of the eyeballs or even the eyelids which may appear to become heavy.

Periocular Irritation: It is a symptom that involves itching, burning, or even stinging sensation in the eyes.

Watery eyes: People suffering from dry eye syndrome sometimes may experience tears rolling down their eyes continuously. This may seem confusing as dry eye refers to lack of tear production, but this is one rare symptom that is a sign of irritation that the eyes feel. It is a brain signal to the irritation and these tears comprise of just water.

Fatigue: Fatigue is another symptom of dry eye in which the eyes may feel tired and so you may even feel the urge to sleep or close your eyes for a while. In this condition, the eyelids often feel heavy due to which a headache may also occur.

Lack Of Concentration: In case you are reading or sitting in a conference room or a classroom and need to focus on what lies in front of you, be it a blackboard or a book or a projected screen, you may not be able to focus properly due to dry eye syndrome. In cases where visual attention is required for a long period, this symptom is commonly observed.

Difficulty In wearing Contact Lenses: If someone is habitual of wearing contact lenses without any discomfort but starts experiencing irritation and pain in the eyes at some point in time, dry eyes may be the reason.

Inability To Cry: In a case where you are emotional and feel an urge to cry and vent out your emotions but are unable to do so, dry eyes are the reason. It is the most common symptom as dry eyes itself refers to lack of tears present in the eyes.

Mucus Discharge: When you get up in the morning, sometimes your eyes stay stuck, and you are unable to open them. This is due to mucus discharge in the eyes, which, in turn, is a symptom indicating dry eyes. It should be noted that mucus discharge may occur at any time of the day but more commonly occurs after we wake up.

In case you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms of dry eye, consult your eye specialist for a suitable treatment.

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