Keratoconjunctivitis  sicca or dry eye syndrome occurs when the eye doesn’t produce enough  tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. 

Why Do I Have Dry Eyes

This condition can appear  in adults who don’t suffer from any other conditions or it can happen  as a result of underlying conditions. In the first case, the tear gland  doesn’t produce enough tears to cover the parts of the eye known as the  conjunctiva and cornea.

Postmenopausal women and old people are more  likely to develop dry eyes syndrome but it can also happen to young and  middle aged people.

Dry eye syndrome  may be the result of another condition. Some people are born with low  tear production or none at all. This is known as alacrima abnormality.  Xerophthalmia is another cause of dry eyes but unlike congenital  alacrima which is present from birth, xerophthalmia develops over time.  When this condition is present, the eye doesn’t produce any more tears.  Xerophthalmia often occurs due to insufficient vitamin A in the diet.  Most cases of xerophthalmia are present in newborns and children under  nine.

Removal of the tear glands also leads to dry eyes.  People who suffer from autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome,  rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus erythematosus could develop dry eye  syndrome.

Wegener’s Granulomatosis and  relapsing polychondritis can be underlying conditions for dry eyes.  People who have diabetes may have this condition too.

Decreased nerve sensitivity may be a cause, although this is currently under research.

Some of the drugs that can cause dry eyes : 

  •  certain sedatives
  •  antidepressants
  •  antihistamines
  •  opiate painkillers
  •  birth control pills
  •  beta blockers
  •  atropine

An injury of the eye is another cause.  Dry eye syndrome can be a side effect of refractive surgery. Lastly, dry  eyes can occur due to dry climate such as sitting for too many hours in  a room with ventilation.

People who spend too long in front of the computer may occasionally suffer from dry eyes too.

The  diagnosis for dry eyes is given by an eye doctor based on symptoms.  There are certain tests that can measure the severity of the condition.