What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t make enough tears to keep the front surface of your eye (your cornea) moist, or when the tears that you produce aren’t of optimum quality, causing them to evaporate or drain away too quickly.
Every time we blink our eyelids spread tears across the surface of our eyes. If tear production is reduced in any way your eyes will dry out and become irritated.
What causes Dry Eye?
As we get older we’re more likely to suffer from dry eye. Women are also more likely to be affected by the condition, which is often prevalent during the menopause. Other causes of dry eye include side-effects to medicines, poor general health and damage to your eyelids caused by disease or injury.
How would I know if I had Dry Eye?
Dry eye is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition characterised by some/all of the following symptoms:
- A gritty irritation that gets worse as the day goes on especially after concentrating, reading, driving or working on a computer.
- A general feeling of grittiness
- A burning sensation
- Itchy, red or tired eyes
- “Watery” or “teary” eyes
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, Request a consultation with our optometrist.
How can Dry Eye be Treated?
Treatment for this irritating condition is relatively straightforward. It is sometimes a case that treatment options ‘manage’ the condition rather than cure it. When our optometrist examines your eyes, they’ll recommend the best artificial tears or eye ointments to soothe and lubricate your eyes, making your eyes more comfortable. We also have sprays as an alternative to drops/ointment which can help to stabalise your tear film and reduce tear evaporation.
Using a hot compress, such as an ‘Eyebag’ can also help with the symptoms of dry eye.
As well as treating the condition with drops/ointments/sprays/hot compresses you can minimise the symptoms of dry eye by making some small changes to your lifestyle. These include:
- Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines are all excellent sources of Omega-3.
- Keeping hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids (at least two litres a day), especially water or herbal teas.
- Avoiding air conditioned or heated atmospheres where the air is artificially dry.
- Reminding yourself to make an effort to blink more often and massage your eyelids.