How Does Dry Eyes Cause Eye Pain?

May 11, 2023
Red Eyes!
Ever wonder why your eyes hurt after a long day?

Dry eyes can cause eye pain due to the lack of proper lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eyes. The tears produced by the tear glands play a crucial role in keeping the eyes lubricated, nourished, and protected. When there is an insufficient production of tears or an imbalance in the composition of tears, dry eyes can occur.

Here's how dry eyes can lead to eye pain:

  1. Corneal irritation: The cornea, which is the clear front part of the eye, relies on a smooth and moist surface to function properly. In the case of dry eyes, the cornea may become exposed to the air and experience friction, leading to irritation and discomfort. This can result in a sensation of pain or soreness.

  2. Inflammation: Chronic dry eyes can trigger inflammation in the ocular surface tissues. The inflammation can cause the nerves in the eyes to become more sensitive, leading to pain or aching sensations.

  3. Surface irregularities: When the tears are insufficient or of poor quality, the smoothness of the ocular surface may be compromised. This can result in irregularities on the surface of the cornea, leading to discomfort and eye pain, especially during blinking or eye movement.

  4. Increased sensitivity to light: Dry eyes can make the eyes more sensitive to light, a condition known as photophobia. When exposed to bright lights, such as sunlight or fluorescent lighting, individuals with dry eyes may experience eye pain or discomfort.

  5. Eye strain: Dry eyes can also contribute to eye strain, particularly when performing visually demanding tasks for an extended period. When the eyes lack proper lubrication, they may become tired more quickly, leading to discomfort and pain.

It's important to note that there can be various underlying causes for dry eyes, including environmental factors, certain medications, hormonal changes, age-related changes, and medical conditions. If you're experiencing persistent eye pain or discomfort, it's recommended to consult an eye care professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.