Causes of Dry Eye

Our Dry Eye Specialists can relieve your discomfort, manage your symptoms, and support you to prevent further complications!


Causes of Dry Eye


Of dry eye sufferers, ~ 70% are women, however at Halsted Eye Boutique, our Optometrists understand that Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome may arise due to a variety of other reasons:

Lid disease and function

  • Blepharitis

  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

  • Frequent styes

  • Incomplete blinking

  • Infrequent blinking

  • Incomplete closure

  • Lash extensions

  • Lash extension glue

  • Dying the eyelashes with tint

  • Permanent lid tattoo

  • Lash growth serums formulated with prostaglandin analogues

Most popular OTC lash growth serums using synthetic prostaglandin analogue include:

  • Xlash Eyelash Enhancer (Myristoyl Pentapeptide 17)

  • Neulash (Isopropyl Cloprostenate)

  • NeuveauBrow (Isopropyl Cloprostenate)

  • RevitaLash (Dechloro Dihydroxy Difluoro Ethylcloprostenolamide)

  • Nutraluxe MD Lash (Isopropyl Cloprostenate)

  • M2 Lashes Eyelash activating serum (Methylamido Dihydro Noralfaprostal )

  • Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to die for Platinum (Myristoyl Pentapeptide 17)

  • Rodan and Fields Lash Boost (Isopropyl Cloprostenate)

Makeup / Cosmetics






  • Applying eyeliner to the waterline

  • Sleeping in makeup


  • Any Bottled Artificial Tears - if they’re not preservative-free, they contain BAK and can cause more harm than benefit if used >4x/day

  • Visine - addictive, less effective with continued use and loaded with BAK)

  • ClearEyes - addictive, less effective with continued use and loaded with BAK)

  • prostaglandin analogue drops for glaucoma

  • Antihistamines - Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Xyzal

  • Decongestants - Afrin, Sudafed, Flonase

  • Acne meds / creams - Accutane

  • ADHD meds - Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin

  • Antidepressants

  • Anti-anxiety

  • Antipsychotics

  • Vitamin A analog

  • Beta-Blockers

  • Blood pressure meds

  • Sleep aids

  • Hormone therapies

  • Chemotherapeutics

  • Diuretics

  • Analgesics

  • Gastrointestinal meds

  • Oral contraceptives (birth control)

  • Avoid periocular use of Preparation H (Pfizer Consumer Healthcare) near the eyes. If you are concerned regarding persistent bags under the eyes, I recommend seeing an oculoplastic surgeon or waiting for regulatory approval of a new topical preparation now in phase 3 trials meant to specifically address infraorbital bags, also known as “festoons.” I emphasize: Do NOT compromise your ocular surface health by using a rectal mucosal OTC agent near your eyes.

Systemic Disease & Conditions

  • Diabetes

  • Sjogren Syndrome

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

  • Thyroid eye disease

  • Pregnancy

  • Menopause

  • vitamin A deficiency

  • Riley-Day syndrome

  • inflammatory conditions

  • Graves Disease - Dry eye is a frequent cause of ocular discomfort in this common autoimmune condition. It’s due to mechanical impairment of the eyelids as well as immune-mediated lacrimal gland dysfunction and meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Multiple Sclerosis - This demyelinating disease can lead to severe dry eye. In MS, poor corneal sensory impulse conduction can result in insufficient tear production, and lagophthalmos-associated Dry Eye Disease can occur due to poor motor control. These patients may have limited ability to instill drops and perform lid hygiene properly; thus, punctal plugs, humidifiers and in-office blepharitis therapies may be crucial.

  • Dermatological Conditions - i.e. Eczema, Rosacea - can develop blepharitis, MGD and associated Dry Eye Disease; sometimes, these precede the cutaneous signs. Conventional blepharitis and MGD therapies such as eyelid hygiene and warm compresses, respectively, are mainstay therapies for mild cases. More advanced cases may necessitate topical or oral azithromycin and newer therapies such as intense pulse light and intraductal meibomian gland probing. Rosacea patients should also avoid any triggers such as stress, spicy food, alcohol and excessive sun exposure.


  • Low humidity

  • Cold weather

  • Windy weather

  • Allergy season

Nutrition / Diet

  • Not drinking enough water

  • lack of Omega 6 FAs in diet

  • lack of Omega 3 FAs in diet

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Caffeine consumption - coffee, energy drinks, caffeinated tea

  • High salt intake - cured meats, soy sauce, bouillon cubes, popcorn

  • High sugar intake - Sodas

  • milk

  • white asparagus

  • fried foods


  • Natural aging process

  • Frequent travel

  • Use of ceiling fans

  • Not getting enough sleep

  • Excessive makeup use

  • Unsafe makeup use

  • Smoking

  • Poor hygiene


  • Sleeping in makeup - Remove makeup daily. Never use facial cleansers or hand soap to remove eye makeup.

  • Using old mascara

  • Using dirty makeup brushes

  • Sharing makeup

  • Sleeping in contacts

  • long-term reusable (non-daily) contact lens use

  • >12 hrs of contact lens wear in a day

  • 7/days a week of contact lens wear

  • Multipurpose solution use with contact lenses

  • Not using fresh contact lens solution every night (AKA using same or adding)

  • Not replacing your contacts within the # of days recommended by your Optometrist (AKA waiting until they bother you)


  • Botox - The neurotoxin decreases peri-ocular wrinkles (AKA crows feet) by weakening the orbicularis oculi muscle. We always check baseline meibomian gland function and structure, using meibomian gland expression and Lipiview meibography for these patients and monitor for change over time. These patients tend to develop incomplete blinking and increased symptoms of Dry Eye Disease.

  • Avoid the so-called Botox-in-a-jar ingredients found in OTC cosmetics: acetyl hexapeptide-8 or acetyl hexapeptide-8 (Argireline; Lipotec)


  • An occasional side effect of cataract surgery, lid surgery, or vision correction surgery such as LASIK or PRK.


If you're in search of exceptional eye care services in Chicago, look no further than Halsted Eye Boutique. Our unwavering commitment to excellence makes us the ultimate destination for those seeking top-notch care. Don't hesitate to contact us today to discover our comprehensive range of services or to schedule an appointment at either of our conveniently located practices. Trust us to provide you with tailored solutions to support all of your eye care needs.

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