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Epidemiology and causes

Dry eye syndrome has a higher prevalence amongst women and those over 60 years old; however, it is an extremely common eye condition and has a wide range of causes, including:

Medical Conditions

  • Systemic diseases (Sjogrens syndrome, RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), Lupus erythematosus, Stevens Johnson, thyroid disease, Bell’s palsy)
  • Eye conditions (ocular rosacea, corneal dystrophies)
  • Rosacea
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
  • Eyelid conditions (lagophthalmos, ptosis)
  • Eye injuries and burns
  • Conditions of the eyelid, such as blepharitis
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Neurological lesions (e.g. Riley-Day syndrome)
  • Absence/abnormality of lacrimal gland/ductules
  • Idiopathic reasons
  • Blink disorders
  • Blepharitis anterior or posterior
  • Ocular surface disease/allergic conjunctivitus


  • Systematic drug side effects (antihistamines, diuretics, beta blockers, HRT, oral contraceptives, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs))
  • Chemotherapy and radiation
  • HRT
  • Preservatives in topical treatments


  • LASIK surgery
  • Blepharoplasty
  • Refractive surgery

Biological factors

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Hormonal (e.g menopause)

Lifestyle factors

  • Diet
  • Lack of sleep
  • Contact Lenses
  • Prolonged computer use (or portabel devices with screens)
  • Botox


  • Air conditioning, car heaters, air currents
  • Smoky and dusty environments
  • Air pressure changes (e.g. on a plane)