The development of occasional dry eyes has many causes, including:
- Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) – approximately 70 percent of cases are MGD related, which is a chronic, diffuse abnormality of the meibomian glands characterized by terminal duct obstruction and/or quality or quantity change in glandular secretions.
- Contact Lenses – contact lens wearers are particularly susceptible to occasional dry eye as soft lens materials require additional lubrication, and a balanced tear film is vital to successful lens wearing. Additionally, medicated eye drops may exacerbate occasional dry eye in contact wearers. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of contact lens wearers discontinue use due to discomfort often caused by occasional dry eye.
- Seasonal Occasional Dry Eye – during the winter months, many experience occasional dry eye as humidity levels drop and home heating systems activate, resulting in drier air. This often causes tears to evaporate more quickly.
Additional factors leading to occasional dry eye include medications that can reduce the amount of tears produced in the eye, medical conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis and refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, which can cause decreased tear production.