Tears lubricate the eyes and wash away particles and foreign objects. A healthy tear film on the eye is necessary for good vision. Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when the natural tear film that covers the surface of the eye is insufficient. UPMC Eye Center ophthalmologists Andrew Eller, MD, and Leela Raju, MD, explain more about this common condition.\nCauses of Dry Eye\nThere are a number of causes, but some of the most common ones include:\n\nPrevious surgeries, such as laser refractive surgery or retinal detachment\nWearing contact lenses, especially after many years\nDry heat in our homes or air conditioning in the summer\nReading intently or staring at a computer\nVarious conditions, such as dementia, Bell\u2019s palsy, Sjogren\u2019s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or hyperthyroidism (Grave\u2019s disease)\n\nDry Eye Symptoms\n\nBurning\nRedness\nFeeling of sand or dirt in the eye\nTearing\n\nEye Tearing and Dry Eye\nSurprisingly, many people with dry eyes complain of tearing. There are three types of tears:\n\nGreasy\nMucousy\nWatery\n\nWhen our tear film is deficient in the greasy and mucousy tears, we compensate with the over population of watery tears.\nTreatment Options for Dry Eye\nSome of the more common treatments include:\n\nOver the counter eye drops\nAn eye gel or ointment\nSmall plugs\u00a0can be placed in the eyelids to increase the tear film\n\nTalking to Your Doctor About Dry Eye\nIn most cases, dry eye can be managed with over the counter eye drops. However, you should consult your eye doctor when you can no longer tolerate the burning, redness, and pain.