Dry eye disease is a multi-factorial disease, meaning there are many different causes of dry eye. Dry Eye Syndrome is a disorder of the tear film for generally one of two reasons: either the tears are evaporating too quickly, or the eye is not producing enough tears. Both of these cause damage to the ocular surface and are associated with symptoms of ocular discomfort and visual disturbance.
In our current day and age, especially over the last ten years, the number of people suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome has increased dramatically. Until recently, science believed that dry eyes were caused by decreased production of tears, so artificial tears were prescribed to supplement and decrease symptoms of dryness. However, research and clinical evidence shows that artificial tears only provide immediate relief. After ten to fifteen minutes, symptoms return and more drops are needed.
It is now thought that the main cause of dry eye is due to poor tear film quality rather than decreased production of the tears.
Dry eye syndrome is commonly caused by Meibomian gland dysfunction, demodex, ocular allergies, lid interaction, or systemic disease such as Sjogren's syndrome. Also, environmental conditions such as working on a computer, in dusty environments, or sleeping with a ceiling fan on can also cause symptoms.