Most of us experience dry eyes occasionally, but some people have it often. This condition can cause eyestrain and interfere with your vision. While fatigue is one of the main causes, there are others that you might not be aware of. If your eyes feel frequently dry and irritated, consider the following possible causes.
Indoor pets like dogs, cats, birds, and hamsters can kick up dust from their cages and toileting areas. Many also shed fur or feathers on occasion. Some track in dirt from the yard when they go outside. These and related pet behaviors can affect some people with dry eye symptoms. These include irritation, dryness, and redness and may require medical dry eye treatment. Try reducing contact with your pet for a day or two to see if that helps to minimize your symptoms.
Although dust is widely recognized as a possible contributor to dry eyes, the sources of dust can be surprising. If your windows are open while nearby areas are under construction, extra dust may enter your home and irritate your eyes. Deep cleaning your home, especially the attic or basement, can raise more dust than you are usually exposed to and affect your eyes. Wearing a face mask while cleaning may help. The home’s ductwork may need to be vacuumed if years of dust and debris have accumulated, so have an HVAC technician check the duct pipes the next time you get a furnace checkup.
Common allergens are known to be a contributing cause to dry eyes, but allergies can come from surprising sources. Certain brands of cosmetics, bath soap, perfumes, and cleaning products may lead to an allergic response that can include dry eyes. New carpet or drapes, shampooing the carpets, and staining the deck may be irritating to your eyes while not necessarily causing an allergic reaction.
Living in an arid climate is a known cause of dry eye. But even living in a moderate climate that goes through a prolonged drought or dry spell can impact a person’s eyes. Being outdoors in direct sunlight for long periods of time can have a similar effect.
Some medicines can cause dry eyes, and this possible side effect is usually listed in the explanation sheet for or packaging of prescription or over-the-counter medications that have this effect. If the problem occurs, ask your doctor if the medication can be switched to one without this side effect.
Now that you know possible causes of dry eye, avoid potential risk factors when possible. If the problem persists, consult your doctor about medication for treating dry eyes.