Dry Eyes: A Sign of Illness?

Dry eye develops when you don’t have enough tears to adequately lubricate your eyeballs. Your tears are for more than just crying — they actually nourish your eyes and keep them healthy, so without them, your eyes may suffer. 


There are two main types of dry eye: one that is caused by inadequate tears, and the other that comes from a poor quality of tears. If you have the first type, your eyes don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist and nourished. If you have the second type, your tears may not contain enough oil, water, or mucus, which are all important components of tears. 


According to the American Optometric Association, the most common type of dry eye occurs when tears don’t contain enough water. At Paragon Eye Associates, our providers want the best for your overall health: Because dry eyes can be a sign of underlying disease, you should know the symptoms and risk factors (and what to do if you have dry eyes).

Symptoms of dry eye

If you have dry eye, you may experience a handful of uncomfortable symptoms, such as: 


Can dry eyes be a symptom of illness?

While the ultimate cause of dry eye is a problem with your tears, certain factors can lead to those issues with tears. For example, certain medications, allergies, environmental factors, and weather can all contribute to dry eyes. 


One other often-overlooked category of dry eye causes is health conditions — people don’t often associate dry eyes with underlying health issues, but they can certainly be a symptom of some illnesses or conditions. 


According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, dry eyes have been linked to: 



Lupus and other autoimmune diseases can cause dry eyes, too. Age is also a risk factor for dry eyes, and as you get older, your risk for diseases increases. 

Do you need to see an eye doctor for dry eye?

Any time you’re having chronic or severe symptoms, it’s a good idea to see your eye doctor. When you come in for an exam at Paragon Eye Associates, be sure to tell your provider that you think you have dry eyes. Depending on your symptoms and eye health history, your doctor may recommend that you take a comprehensive dilated eye exam. 


If you have other symptoms beyond those typical of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend that you see your primary care physician to discuss your condition. 

To learn more about dry eyes or schedule your eye exam, call Paragon Eye Associates at our office in Arlington, Texas, at 817-631-9824, or in Mansfield, Texas, at 817-662-7979. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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