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Chronically Dry Eyes

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Last updated June 11, 2022

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What are chronically dry eyes?

Dry eye syndrome (medically known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca), occurs when there is a problem with the thin film of tears that keeps the eye moist and lubricated. It usually means you’re not producing enough tears.

This condition can affect people of all ages, but becomes more common with age. The causes include aging, some medications, and increased evaporation of tears (due to low humidity in the air, low blink frequency, wearing contact lenses, or windy conditions). Other underlying illnesses can contribute to it in rare cases.


You can safely treat this condition on your own with over-the-counter artificial tears, which come as eye drops and gels, and are usually great at relieving symptoms.

Try to remember to blink regularly, especially when reading or staring at a computer screen. Take computer breaks.

Warm compresses and eyelid hygiene (gently scrubbing the eyelids with special products such as OcuSoft lid scrubs).

You might want to call your doctor or eye doctor if over-the-counter remedies don't help.

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Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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