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Does Coffee Increase Dry Eyes?

By Kate Beck ; Updated August 14, 2017

The surface of your eye needs a thin layer of tears to help protect and nourish the surrounding tissues. If your body does not create sufficient moisture, you will typically experience dry eye. Many people suffer from this condition, and if you do not treat dry eye properly you may have damage to the surface of your eye. Certain factors can increase your risk for dry eye problems, but coffee does not have any known effect on the condition.


Dry eye will often cause irritation such as itchy eyes, stinging, burning and a foreign body sensation. You may notice that the whites of your eyes appear red, and you may have periods of watery eyes. Some people also have blurry vision that resolves with artificial tears or with a series of rapid blinks.

Dry eye symptoms require evaluation from an eye doctor. She may recommend artificial tears to help relieve your symptoms, but in severe cases she may recommend a medication or surgical procedure to help reduce your symptoms.


Regular coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that some people associate with an increased risk for certain health conditions. However, a study conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison determined that consuming caffeinated products does not pose an increased risk for having dry eye problems.

Risk Factors

Although coffee does not have a known effect on dry eye, other factors may put you in a higher risk category for having episodes of dry eye. Eyelid malformations may increase your risk since the eyelids spread the tear film evenly across the surface of the eye, and if you cannot completely close your eyelid, this may result in inadequate coverage. Hormones may affect dry eye, and if you have any eye surgeries or procedures, you have an increased risk for dry eye. Some medications may cause dry eye, and some health problems may put you at greater risk as well. However, as you age, your risk factor increases for dry eye.


Caffeine may not cause dry eye, but consuming food and beverages such as coffee may still affect your health. Drinking large quantities of coffee may cause upset stomach, agitation and an increase in blood pressure. If you experience these or other unusual symptoms, contact your doctor to determine if your symptoms were caused by caffeine or coffee or another health condition.

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