Do your eyes feel uncomfortable?  Do they sting, burn or itch? Are they watery, red or bloodshot?  You may have a common condition called dry eyes. Having dry eyes means that your eyes do not produce enough tears or the quality of your tears can’t adequately provide enough lubrication for your eyes.  This can cause inflammation and possibly damage to the eye’s surface.


The eye is naturally protected by a film of tears that hydrates and ensures comfort and quality of vision.  The tear film is made up of a blend of fatty oils, aqueous fluid and mucous designed to remain on the eye surface, providing protection and allowing the lid to sweep smoothly over the eye with each blink.


Why Do I Have Dry Eyes?


There are a number of factors that can affect tear function, reduce the volume of tears or increase evaporation of tears and cause dry eyes.


Physical causes of dry eye

  • Hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menopause
  • Aging, after 50 our tear production decreases
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Some medications
  • Inflamed or blocked eyelid glands
  • Wearing contact lenses too often for long periods
  • Laser eye surgery


Environmental causes of dry eye

  • Staring at a digital screen for extended periods
  • Air conditioning
  • Outdoor exposure to wind without eye protection; biking, boating
  • Wearing contact lenses too often for long periods


You can help prevent dry eyes and allow your eyes to recover from the symptoms it may cause.


  • Feed your tears! Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids are needed for healthy tears so include foods like liver, carrots, broccoli, salmon and walnuts.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use a humidifier, especially in the winter
  • Avoid air blowing directly in your eyes, and avert the flow from fans, air conditions or heaters while in the car, at home, or even on an airplane.
  • Take breaks when using digital screens. We tend to blink less while using a smartphone or computer. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of blinking more often and to stop to look away for short periods.
  • Don’t smoke!


If you aren’t sure if you are suffering from dry eyes or how to treat your current symptoms, it’s time to book an appointment with an IRIS optometrist to learn more and a start a treatment plan suited for your specific issues.