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March 10, 2023 3 min read

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the quality of tears is poor. This can lead to discomfort, irritation, and even vision problems. 

While dry eye syndrome is typically associated with older adults, it can also occur in children. In this article, we will discuss the causes of dry eyes in children.

1. Genetics

Certain genetic conditions can affect the production of tears, leading to dry eye syndrome. For example, children born with congenital alacrima do not produce tears, leading to dry eyes from birth.

Other genetic conditions that can affect the production of tears include Sjogren's syndrome, which can cause dry eyes and dry mouth, and ectodermal dysplasia, which can cause dry eyes, along with other symptoms such as abnormal teeth and hair growth.

2. Health Conditions

Children with certain health conditions are at a higher risk of developing dry eye syndrome. For example, children with diabetes may experience dry eyes due to nerve damage that affects tear production.

Children with thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism, may also experience dry eyes due to hormonal imbalances. Other health conditions that can cause dry eyes in children include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma.

3. Medications

Some medications can cause dry eyes as a side effect. For example, antihistamines and decongestants, which are commonly used to treat allergies and colds, can reduce tear production and cause dry eyes. Children who take medications for ADHD or depression may also experience dry eyes as a side effect.

4. Allergies

Allergic reactions can cause inflammation of the eyes, leading to dryness. Children who have allergies to pollen, dust, or pet dander may experience dry eyes as a result. Allergic conjunctivitis is a common condition that can cause dry eyes along with other symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling.

5. Environmental factors

Exposure to dry air, wind, and smoke can lead to dry eyes in children. Dry air can cause tears to evaporate quickly, leading to dryness. Wind can also cause tears to evaporate quickly, while smoke can irritate the eyes and cause dryness.

6. Screen time

Many children spend long hours on electronic devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones. This can cause dry eyes due to decreased blinking. When we use electronic devices, we tend to blink less frequently, which can lead to dryness. Children who spend much time on electronic devices may also experience eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision.

7. Contact lenses

Wearing contact lenses for extended periods can cause dry eyes due to reduced oxygen flow to the eyes. Contact lenses can also trap debris and bacteria, leading to inflammation and dryness. Children who wear contact lenses should follow proper hygiene practices and use eye drops as needed to prevent dryness.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes in Children

Children may experience a variety of symptoms if they have dry eyes, including:

  • Burning sensation
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Discomfort
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Watery eyes
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open

Treatment Options for Dry Eyes in Children

If your child is experiencing dry eyes, the first step is to identify and address the underlying cause. If the cause is related to an underlying medical condition, such as allergies or an autoimmune disorder, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat the condition. They may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as reducing screen time or using artificial tears.

In some cases, your doctor may suggest using a special eye mask or applying a warm compress to the eyes to reduce dryness. If these treatments do not help, your doctor may recommend using a prescription eye drop or ointment to reduce dryness and inflammation.


There are several causes of dry eyes in children, including genetics, health conditions, medications, allergies, environmental factors, screen time, and contact lenses. It is important to identify the underlying cause of dry eyes in children to ensure proper treatment and management. Parents should consult an eye doctor if their child is experiencing symptoms of dry eyes such as redness, itching, burning, or excessive tearing. Treatment options may include eye drops, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, surgery.

Dry Eye Shop is a specialty eye care provider specializing in dry eye syndrome. We provide complete treatment and prevention for dry, itchy eyes with the help of our products likea dry eyes sleep mask. Browse through our online store today!

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