All About Dry Eye


Not sure if you have Dry Eyes?

Try this simple test. Blink Twice and then slowly count the numbers shown below:

1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15

If you can't get to ten without needing to blink again then you may have Dry Eyes. Call us to see how we can help.

What is Dry Eye? 

Dry Eye is one of the most common eye disorders in the UK. It happens when tears don't function as they should do -the normal function of tears is to keep the surface of the eyes wet and lubricated. If the tears are not good enough you can get a gritty, burning sensation of the eyes that can sometimes disturb vision. 

In Dry Eye either:

* The eyes may not be making enough tears

* The tears produced are of poor quality

* The tears evaporate faster than they should.

 

What are the Symptoms?

Signs and symptoms include:

Dryness, redness, excessive watering, 'tired' eyes.

Gritty feeling, foreign body sensations, photophobia (sensitivity to light), pain.

Contact lens discomfort, blurring of vision, irritation from wind/smoke. 

 

Common Causes

Ageing

Blepharitis (inflammation of the eye lids)

Dry environment/pollution

Computer Use

Hormonal changes (some treatments for the menopause)

LASIK surgery

Preservatives (in eye drops)

Drinking too much alcohol

Certain types of medications

Dry Eye may also be a symptom of general health problems or disease

 

How is Dry Eye Treated? 

In some cases symptoms can be relieved simply be altering environmental factors. For example, avoiding dehydrating environments (such as air conditioning), protecting the eyes from wind by wearing glasses or sunglasses, drinking the right amount of water to stay hydrated etc. Also, for those who work in an office environment or with computers, it is important to take regular breaks to rest the eyes and blink normally. 

Dry eye is due to an imbalance of tears so they can't lubricate the surface of eyes. Tears must be distributed efficiently, replaced or conserved in order to provide relief. One of the most common ways to manage Dry Eye is by artificially supplementing the tears using eye drops.

Surprisingly, watery eyes are part of Dry Eye. When too many tears are produced, they tend to be of poor quality and irritate the surface of the eye further, rather than provide relief. There are a variety of artificial tears available, ask your pharmacist/optometrist to advise you. 

 Another option that can be used either with eye drops, or instead of eye drops, is supplements. Growing scientific evidence supports the role of dietary supplements in the management of Dry Eye.

In severe cases of Dry Eye punctum plugging is also available. Tiny plugs are put into tear ducts to prevent the tears draining away. 

 

If you feel you may be suffering with Dry Eye, or if you need help or advise with how to manage your symptoms, please call us on 01702 232222.