Women sitting at a desk, rubbing her eyes
Women sitting at a desk, rubbing her eyes

Dry Eye

Dry eye, or dry eye disease (DED), is caused by a reduction in the eye's ability to produce or maintain normal tears. There are two main types of dry eye disease, aqueous deficient and the most common form, evaporative. Aqueous-deficient dry eye develops when the eyes do not produce enough of the watery component of the tears and evaporative dry eye is caused by a deficiency in the outermost oily layer of the tears. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of dry eye disease. The meibomian glands produce an oily substance called meibum that aids in preventing evaporation of the water in the tears by forming a layer over the top. When the meibum isn’t present or of good quality, it is not able to protect the surface of the eye and tears will evaporate more than usual, resulting in a dry, gritty, or scratchy feeling. Approximately 86% of people with dry eye disease have excessive tear evaporation due to MGD.

A variety of factors may cause or contribute to dry eye; some are age-related while others are related to the environment. People tend to make fewer tears as they age as a result of hormonal changes. Dry eye is more common in women—especially those who have gone through menopause. Dry eye is a common and treatable condition.

Other possible causes of dry eye include:

  • Smoke, wind and dry environments
  • Certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, thyroid disease and lupus
  • Heavy digital device use—looking at a computer screen or smartphone for a long period of time
  • Reading and other near viewing activities that reduce blinking
  • Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
  • Taking certain medicines, such as:
    • Diuretics (water pills) for high blood pressure
    • Beta-blockers for heart problems or high blood pressure
    • Allergy and cold medicines (antihistamines)
    • Sleeping pills
    • Anxiety and antidepressant medicines
    • Heartburn medicines
  • Blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red)
  • Contact lens–related dryness

Bausch + Lomb INFUSE® daily disposable contact lenseslink-out icon maintain 96% of their moisture for a full 16 hours* and are comfortable when working for long hours at a computer.

Be sure to tell your eye doctor about all medications (prescription and non-prescription) that you take. This information will help them assess and treat the underlying condition.

Tear quality may also be the cause of dry eyes. In a normal tear, there are three components—water, mucus and oil. These three components work together to provide the proper amount of moisture, distribute moisture evenly across the ocular surface and prevent evaporation that can cause eyes to become dry. If any of the three components is compromised, the eye may not get the nourishment and protection it needs.

See Also: Caring for Reusable Contact Lenses With Biotrue® Hydration Plus Multi-Purpose Solutionlink-out icon

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye:

  • Lid laxity—eyelids won't fully close
  • Eye irritation—stinging or burning sensation
  • Gritty, scratchy sensation—as if something is in the eye
  • Strings of mucus in or around the eyes
  • Redness
  • Blurred vision—especially when reading or performing other near viewing activities
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses comfortably
  • Excessive watering or tears in the eyes

While it may seem odd that excessively watery eyes are a sign of dry eye, this occurs as the eyes make more tears when they are irritated by dry eye.

Regardless of the cause of dry eye, the signs and symptoms are similar. An eye doctor can diagnose dry eye through a comprehensive exam, observing tear flow and quality and assessing the ocular surface and eyelids. Tell your eye doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They will evaluate your eye condition to determine if you have dry eye and what may be causing it.

Treatment for Dry Eye

Dry eye is treated in a number of ways to help soothe the symptoms or treat the underlying cause.
The most common forms of treatment for dry eye include:

  • Artificial tears (also called lubricating eye drops) can help relieve discomfort by adding some of the same elements that your tears naturally have, which helps your tear film protect the surface of your eyes
    • Artificial tears are available without a prescription and can be used when your eyes feel dry.
    • Biotrue® Hydration Boost Lubricant Eye Dropslink-out icon from Bausch + Lomb provide instant moisture for dry, irritated eyes, and are contact lens friendly!
  • Prescription medications to reduce tear evaporation, stimulate production of natural tears or inhibit ocular surface inflammation.
    • MIEBO™ from Bausch + Lomb is the first and only prescription eye drop approved for DED that directly targets tear evaporation.
    • XIIDRA® from Bausch + Lomb specifically targets a source of inflammation to treat signs and symptoms of dry eye disease.
  • Warm compresses on the eyes
  • Certain eyelid cleansers
  • Surgery: Tiny silicone or gel plugs may be inserted, or your eye doctor may recommend permanently closing the tear ducts. Both procedures are intended to conserve the natural tears your eye produces for a longer period of time
  • In-office physical therapies: Meibomian gland thermal pulsation and expression or intense pulsed light (IPL), for example

Dry Eye Prevention Tips

  • Minimize drying: Avoid dry situations, such as an overheated room, wind or smoke
  • When outdoors, wear wraparound glasses to reduce the drying effect of wind
  • Avoid overly warm rooms
  • Add moisture to the air (especially in the winter) by using a humidifier or placing a pan of water near your heater or radiator
  • Use artificial tear ointment or thick eye drops before going to bed
  • Talk to your doctor about adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet
    • These are found naturally in flaxseeds and oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, tuna, trout and anchovies). Omega-3 fatty acids can be added as a dietary supplement for dry eye relief


  • Remove contact lenses before using MIEBO™ and wait for at least 30 minutes before reinserting your lenses.
  • Put one drop of MIEBO™ into each eye four times a day, following the instructions for use in the packaging.
  • It is not known if MIEBO™ is safe and effective in children under the age of 18.
  • The most common eye side effect seen in studies was blurred vision.
  • One to three percent of patients reported blurred vision and eye redness.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Click here for full Prescribing Information for MIEBO™.


  • XIIDRA® is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to lifitegrast or to any of the other ingredients.
  • In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions reported in 5-25% of patients were instillation site irritation, dysgeusia and reduced visual acuity. Other adverse reactions reported in 1% to 5% of the patients were blurred vision, conjunctival hyperemia, eye irritation, headache, increased lacrimation, eye discharge, eye discomfort, eye pruritus and sinusitis.
  • To avoid the potential for eye injury or contamination of the solution, patients should not touch the tip of the single-use container to their eye or to any surface.
  • Contact lenses should be removed prior to the administration of XIIDRA® and may be reinserted 15 minutes following administration.
  • Safety and efficacy in pediatric patients below the age of 17 years have not been established.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Click here for full Prescribing information for XIIDRA®.

*Based on a laboratory study.

Results from a 36-investigator multi-site study of Bausch + Lomb kalifilcon A contact lenses, on 398 current silicone hydrogel lens wearers. After 7 days of wear, subjects completed an online survey that rated performance across a range of attributes.

Based on standardized testing (ISO 11981) on soft contact lenses. Not meant to lubricate or rewet lenses.