Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears to stay wet, or when your tears don’t work correctly. This can make your eyes feel uncomfortable, and in some cases it can also cause vision problems

Normally, glands above your eyes make tears that keep your eyes wet. Dry eye happens when your tears can’t keep your eyes wet enough.

Am I at risk for dry eye?

You may be more likely to get dry eye if you are:

  • Age 50 or older. As you get older, your body has to work harder to make tears.
  • A woman. The hormone changes that happen during pregnancy and menopause (when a woman stops getting her period) can make it harder for your body to make tears.

What else can cause dry eye?

There are some medicines, health problems, activities, and situations that can cause dry eye, including:

40-50 year old asian woman

What is Sjögren syndrome?

Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disorder (a type of health problem where your immune system attacks healthy parts of your body by mistake). If you have Sjögren syndrome, your body attacks the glands that make tears and saliva, causing dry eye, dry mouth, and trouble swallowing.

Anyone can have Sjögren syndrome, but women age 40 to 50 are at higher risk. People with Sjögren syndrome often have another autoimmune disorder as well — like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

There’s no cure for Sjögren syndrome, but you and your doctor can work together to find ways to manage your symptoms.

Last updated: July 16, 2019