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Do cataracts cause dry eyes? Cataracts and dry eyes are two separate conditions, however, they’re often associated together. Generally, people perceive a connection between cataracts and dry eyes, assuming that one condition can cause or contribute to the other.

Many people are affected by cataracts or dry eyes as they age. However, to know whether or not cataracts lead to dry eyes, it is important to understand these conditions separately.

Understanding Cataracts and Dry Eyes

Cataracts – Cataracts is a common eye condition that occurs as people age. It happens when the protein in your eyes breaks down and sticks together, causing blurry or cloudy vision. When cataracts develop, a barrier is created to prevent light from reaching the photosensitive retina.
Dry Eyes – Contrarily, dry eyes is a condition when eyes are unable to produce sufficient tears or tears evaporate too quickly. It, often, results in irritation, discomfort, or dry sensation.

Do Cataracts Cause Dry Eyes?

Even though cataracts and dry eyes are common age-related issues, they are separate conditions and not linked together. Cataracts occur when the protein inside the eye’s lens breaks down, on the other hand, dry eyes happen from inadequate tear production or poor tear quality.

With all said, cataracts and dry eyes can co-exist in some individuals simultaneously. When left untreated, these conditions can lead to infection, inflammation, and other serious side effects.

Connection Between Cataracts and Dry Eyes

As stated earlier, it is possible for an individual to have cataracts and dry eyes at the same time. While these are two different conditions, they sometimes have overlapping symptoms.

It means that an individual with cataracts may experience the same symptoms as dry eyes. However, it is worth noting that cataracts do not directly contribute to or lead to dry eyes.


Here are some ways these conditions can influence each other

  • Dry Eyes as a Risk Factor For Cataracts – As per research, chronic dry eyes may increase the risk of developing cataracts. If left untreated, prolonged dryness and inflammation can contribute to the formation or progression of cataracts.
  • Effect of Cataracts Surgery on Dry Eyes – Cataract surgery is widely known to have both positive and negative impacts on dry eyes. This surgery may alleviate dry eye symptoms for certain individuals while it temporarily worsens symptoms for others. While improved vision and clarity after surgery reduce eye stains, the surgical process and prescribed eye drops can cause discomfort and dryness. Usually, these symptoms disappear as the eyes recover.
  • Post-Operative Concern – Dry eyes can impact the post-operative outcomes or prolong the healing process. A medical professional should be informed if an individual has pre-existing dry eyes. However, the impact is not serious as it can be resolved by taking the necessary precautions. For instance, using lubricating eye drops and following certain care instructions as directed by the eye care specialist.

Treatment Options For Dry Eyes and Cataracts

If you have either or both eye conditions, fret not, cataracts and dry eyes are treatable. Only an eye doctor can determine the best treatment option after finding the root cause.


Usually, people experiencing mild dry eyes symptoms can fix the issue with increased use of artificial tears. On the other hand, cataract surgery is the ultimate treatment option for cataracts. In the surgery, the doctor replaces the natural lens with an artificial lens, IOL.


dry eye


Managing Cataracts and Dry Eyes

Prevention and self-care can reduce the risk of developing cataracts or dry eyes. Making healthier lifestyle changes, medical interventions, and preventive care can help manage these conditions.

  • Use of Lubricating Eye Drops – Regular application of artificial tears or lubricating eye drops will improve the dry eyes symptoms and provide much-needed relief. Consult a professional to determine what eye drops will be best for your condition.
  • Good Eye Hygiene – Maintain good eye hygiene by gently washing your eyes with water. This will greatly reduce the risk of infections and dryness.
  • Healthy Diet – Make sure to include foods and nutrients that promote good eye health. To that end, follow a balanced diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, E, and antioxidants. Moreover, drink plenty of water to support tear production.
  • Utilize a Humidifier – Use humidifiers in your home and office, especially during winter. Adding moisture to the air will help relieve dryness in your eyes.
  • Treat These Conditions Timely – If symptoms worsen or persist, make sure to consult doctors timely. If left untreated for a long time, it can develop into a serious infection or other condition.


In brief, dry eyes and cataracts are two separate age-related conditions and do not contribute to the development of each other.


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