How can lifestyle contribute towards dry eye?

More than a quarter (26%) of people surveyed said they use screens for a long period of time, causing their eyes to become dry. There are several things you can do yourself to help improve tear production, reduce evaporation of tears and reduce the symptoms of dry eye. Simple changes like drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep each night and avoiding smoking or smoky areas can help to improve tear production.

Anant Sharma, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Moorfields Eye Centre at Bedford Hospital

"Daily activities can impact dry eye symptoms to varying degrees, and can either improve or worsen the condition, depending on its severity. Regularly using computers, watching television, reading, and wearing contact lenses can worsen dry eye symptoms. Other triggers include the use of eye cosmetics and make-up remover, lack of sleep, use of some medications, air conditioning, alcohol consumption and a poor diet. For people who experience dry eye, I recommend taking regular breaks and blinking often when using computers and smartphones, watching television or reading. I also recommend people prioritise improving their gut flora - shown to contribute towards healthy eyes - by eating a varied diet with probiotics and a rainbow of colours of fruit and vegetables every day, as well as maintaining regular hydration, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake."

What lifestyle changes can be taken to avoid dry eye?

  • Remember to blink more frequently when using a computer screen or reading
  • Close your eyes or look away from the screen for a break every 20 minutes
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses on windy days to protect your eyes
  • Avoid air-conditioned environments and draughts near your face, and consider using a humidifier to put more water into the air
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How can dry eye impact daily life?

Dry eye can cause discomfort, fatigue and visual disturbance that can negatively affects a person’s life. In previous research, people reported the condition interferes with normal activities like reading and driving, as well as work productivity. In a survey, people reported dry eye would impact their anxiety, confidence, quality of life and self-esteem.

In some cases, where the eye lids become inflamed (called blepharitis), persistent discomfort of the eyes and the perceived unattractive appearance may cause psychological stress and negative social implications for patients, including depression and anxiety.


  1. Santen survey. Data on file 2020
  2. National Eye Institute. Dry eye. Available at: Last accessed October 2020
  3. eyeblink. Dry eye syndrome. Available at: Last accessed October 2020
  4. Uchino M et al. Curr Ophthalmol Rep 2013;1(2):51-57
  5. Chiang CC. PLoS One 2013;8(12):e83335
Document number: PP-CATION-UK-0065. Date of preparation: November 2020