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What are the Most Common Causes of Dry Mouth and Eyes?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dry mouth and eyes can be caused by allergies, dehydration, certain medications, or an illness known as Sjogren's syndrome. Seasonal allergies or environmental allergies can both cause dryness in the mouth and eyes, and sometimes eyedrops or allergy medications can help to temporarily relieve the problem. Specific irritants should be identified if possible, in order to be avoided in the future. Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease; this means the immune system is essentially responding to a nonexistent problem in the body, making the immune system attack itself.

Though Sjogren's syndrome commonly affects the salivary glands and tear ducts, it can also affect other areas of the body, causing pain in the joints or skin rashes, among other issues. A medical professional can help to diagnose and treat this condition, which may help to relieve the symptoms. If a dry mouth and eyes are not caused by allergy or illness, however, dehydration may be the problem. It is important for people to drink enough water throughout the day both for overall health and to prevent dryness.

The flu can sometimes cause dry mouth and eyes, as can any illness that is accompanied by a fever. Medications are one of the leading causes of these symptoms as well. Drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications, among others, can lead to persistent dryness. For some people, these symptoms are a persistent problem without a clear cause; regular use of lubricating eye drops may help to prevent redness, dryness, or itching in the eyes. Breathing through the mouth can also cause it to become dry, so sufferers should breathe through the nose as much as possible.

Sometimes, the environment can cause dryness as well. Central air conditioning or heating systems, or buildings such as offices or hospitals where air is frequently recycled, can all dry out the body. The only treatment is for individuals to stay hydrated throughout the day and to use eye drops if the eyes become scratchy and painful. Some people find that using a humidifier at night in the home can help to prevent dryness as well; small bedroom humidifiers and can be filled with water and run all night to add water to the air.

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Discussion Comments

By ZipLine — On May 16, 2013

@literall45-- Medications can definitely cause dry mouth and dry eye symptoms. The ones I know about are arthritis and blood pressure medications and anti-depressant medications.

My mom experiences dry mouth and eyes from her high blood pressure medications. They are diuretic, I think this is why they cause these symptoms. I also took anti-depressant medication for a while and had dry mouth from it.

There are many more drugs that can cause these symptoms, so you need to look up your medications' potential side effects specifically to be sure.

By literally45 — On May 16, 2013

I have these issues during the winter months due to heaters. I have to use a humidifier for that reason.

Can medications cause dry eyes and mouth?

By fBoyle — On May 15, 2013

Experiencing dry mouth and dry eye symptoms at the same time doesn't mean that they have to have the same cause.

I went to the doctor with these symptoms and after some blood tests, I found out that I'm a type 2 diabetic. Dry mouth and drinking excessive water are symptoms of diabetes.

My doctor attributed my dry eyes to looking at the computer screen too much. I'm using an over-the-counter, artificial tear eye drops for it daily.

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