Who Gets Chronic Dry Eye, and Why Do They Get It?

Chronic Dry Eye (CDE) disease can occur in anyone, but people 50 years of age or older are at greatest risk of developing it. While Chronic Dry Eye is more common in women, it also occurs in men.

In many people, Chronic Dry Eye can be caused by or associated with:

Growing older

  • Chronic Dry Eye disease is more common in people 50 years of age or older

Hormonal changes

  • Chronic Dry Eye disease is associated with hormonal changes, which are very common among women who are experiencing menopause or who are postmenopausal


  • Chronic Dry Eye disease may involve inflammation:
    • Inflammation may affect the glands, which can decrease tear production
    • Inflammation can also affect the glands’ ability to create and maintain the lipid layer, or top layer, of the tear film. The lipid layer slows tear evaporation

Other conditions

  • Chronic Dry Eye may be associated with other eye or health conditions. Some of these include:
    • Glaucoma
    • Diabetes
    • Lupus
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Sjögren's syndrome

External conditions that can aggravate Chronic Dry Eye symptoms

Certain external conditions can aggravate symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye (CDE). These include:

  • Pollen and allergies
  • Dry air or wind
  • Dust or smoke
  • Working on the computer
  • Wearing contact lenses

The only way to find out if you have Chronic Dry Eye is to talk to your eye doctor. He or she can examine your eyes and review your options.