Dry Eyes Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your dry eyes symptoms with Buoy, including 3 causes and common questions concerning your dry eyes.

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  1. 3 Possible Dry Eyes Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

3 Possible Dry Eyes Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced dry eyes. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Inflamed eyelid (blepharitis)

Inflamed eyelid, or blepharitis, is a bacterial infection of the skin at the base of the eyelashes.

If the oil glands around the eyelashes become clogged, normal skin bacteria will multiply in the oil and cause infection. The glands can become blocked due to dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows; allergies to eye makeup or contact lens solution; or eyelash mites or lice.

Symptoms include red, swollen, painful eyelids; oily, dandruff-like flakes of skin at the base of the eyelashes; and eyelashes that grow abnormally or fall out.

If the symptoms do not clear with hygiene, see a medical provider. Blepharitis can become chronic and lead to infections of the eyelids and cornea; dry eyes which cannot take contact lenses; and scarring and deformity of the eyelids.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination of the eyelids, under magnification and through skin swab of the eyelashes.

Treatment includes warm compresses and careful washing of the eyelids; antibiotics in pill or cream form; steroid eyedrops; and treatment for any underlying condition such as dandruff or rosacea.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: eye itch, sensitivity to light, eye redness, feeling of something in the eye, dry eyes

Symptoms that never occur with inflamed eyelid (blepharitis): severe eye pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Dry Eyes Symptom Checker

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Chronically dry eyes

Chronically dry eyes are a relatively common condition, especially in older adults, that can be very uncomfortable and lead to damage of the surface of the eye. They are caused by a decrease in the tear production of the eye or an increase in tear evaporation. Risk factors inc...

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Vernal conjunctivitis

Vernal conjunctivitis is long-term (chronic) swelling (inflammation) of the outer lining of the eyes due to an allergic reaction. Vernal conjunctivitis often occurs in people with a strong family history of allergies, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, and eczema.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: wateriness in both eyes, eye itch, eye redness, sensitivity to light, feeling of something in the eye

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dry Eyes

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you feel like there is something in your eye?
  • Does light bother your eyes more than usual?
  • Is your mouth very dry?
  • Have you recently used Atropine eye drops? It's an eye drop used to treat anterior uveitis to allow your eyes to rest and recover. It is also used sometimes to dilate your eyes for an examination, but this is pretty uncommon.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Dry Eyes Symptom Checker

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Dry Eyes Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced dry eyes have also experienced:

  • 6% Fatigue
  • 4% Headache
  • 4% Dry Mouth

People who have experienced dry eyes were most often matched with:

  • 60% Vernal Conjunctivitis
  • 20% Inflamed Eyelid (Blepharitis)
  • 20% Chronically Dry Eyes

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

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