Symptoms may include:

  • Dry Sensation
  • Excessive Watering
  • Gritty Feeling
  • Blurring of Vision
  • Redness
  • ‘Tired’ Eyes
  • Contact Lens Discomfort
  • Irritation from Wind/Smoke/Air Conditioning
Dry Eye Symptom Gallery

CONDITIONS

What is Dry Eye?

Having Dry Eye means that your eyes are irritated and sore: you may not have enough tears or the tears you are producing are of poor quality and/or that those produced evaporate faster than they should.

The normal function of tears is to keep the surface of the eye wet and lubricated so any reduction in their quality can produce a gritty, burning sensation of the eyes that can sometimes disturb vision.

The symptoms of Dry Eye syndrome may include

  • Dry Sensation
  • Excessive Watering
  • Gritty Feeling / Foreign Body Sensations
  • Pain
  • Blurring of Vision
  • Redness
  • ‘Tired’ Eyes / wanting to rub eyes frequently
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Contact Lens Discomfort
  • Irritation from Wind/Smoke/Air Conditioning

What are the causes of Dry Eye?

Dry Eye can be caused by a wide variety of everyday factors and include

  • Ageing
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
  • Dry Environment / Pollution
  • Computer Use
  • Hormonal Changes (some treatments for the menopause)
  • LASIK Surgery
  • Preservatives (in eye drops)
  • Excessive Alcohol Intake
  • Certain Types of medications (anti-acne, some beta-blockers, oral contraceptives, antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants, alcohol & anti-depressants)
    CAUTION: Do not alter or adjust your prescribed medicines without discussing with your Doctor. Your Optometrist or Doctor can advise of any known links between medicines and Dry Eye.
  • Dry Eye may also be symptomatic of general health problems or disease e.g. people with arthritis are more prone to Dry Eye (Sjogren's Syndrome = arthritis + Dry Eye + dry mouth)

How is Dry Eye treated?

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

Dry Eye syndrome is related to an imbalance of tears that impairs their ability to properly lubricate the surface of the 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, even watery eyes are part of Dry Eye Syndrome. 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 and advice is available about finding a suitable solution.

Another option to use instead of or in conjunction with 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, where tiny little plugs are put into the tear ducts to prevent the tears draining away.



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