01 Mar Part 3 – Environmental Causes of Dry Eyes

This third and final post on Dry Eyes is a continuation of previous posts on why dry eyes can occur in as many as 50% of the population.

In Part 1 our Markham optometrists discussed dry eye symptoms including inflammation of the cornea and/or conjunctiva, and an inadequate quality or quantity of tears.

In Part 2 our eye doctors discussed several health-related causes of dry eyes including aging, Hormones (pregnancy, menopause), Medications and Diseases.

In Dry Eyes – Part 3, we will discuss the environmental causes of dry eyes, some of which are within your control such as activities.

Decreased Blink Rate

Often when using a computer, tablet, or cell phone, we naturally do not blink as often. When we have a decreased blink rate, we do not produce as many tears to lubricate the surface of the eye. Lack of blinking also contributes to Meibomian gland dysfunction, which is a leading cause of dry eye. Meibomian gland dysfunction can be treated with Lipiflow; now available at Unionville Optometry. For more information on LipiFlow dry eye technology, visit our new Dry Eye Clinic page.

Poor Indoor Humidity

Air conditioning and forced air can decrease the humidity in closed spaces such as your home or office. As a result, tear evaporation can be accelerated causing symptoms of dry eyes.

Outdoor Poor Air Quality

Windy conditions and very dry climates can often cause dry eyes, as well as poor air quality caused by heavy air pollution or smoke caused by nearby wildfires.

Wearing Contact Lenses

Contact lens wearers often complain of dry eyes and many will stop wearing their contacts (or wear their contacts less frequently) because of it. With so many great contact lenses on the market this doesn’t have to be the case. Be sure to check out our article on the Top 10 Contact Lenses FAQ.

Eye Strain

Usually caused by too much screen time in front of a TV, computer, or other electronic devices, eye strain is a very common cause of dry eyes. Be sure to check out our article on How to Prevent Eye Strain.

Frequent Flying

The air inside an airplane cabin is often dry and may cause many frequent flyers to complain of dry eyes.

Cigarette Smoking

This not only causes eyes to feel dry but can also lead to serious eye problems like macular degeneration and cataracts.


LASIK and other refractive surgeries, as well as cosmetic eyelid surgery can also cause dry eyes. Most of the time the condition and discomfort are only temporary.

Book Your Eye Appointment Today

If you are experiencing dry eyes it is important to see your eye doctor right away. If left untreated, dry eyes can potentially cause permanent damage to your eyes and lead to corneal ulcers. Early detection is critical. This is why our Markham optometrists at Unionville Optometry perform dry eye tests during all routine eye exams.

We hope this series of blog articles on dry eyes has increased your awareness of overall eye health.

To make an appointment today with Dr. Krista, Dr. Mark or Dr. David Innamorato, please call our Unionville optometry office at 1-905-477-4488. You may also contact us online or send us an email.

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