Dry Eye Syndrome
Any uncomfortable eyes are best looked at by a professional. Any persistent reduction in vision, redness or light sensitivity should not be ignored & medical opinion sought as soon as possible.
Dry eye syndrome is gritty, sore or itchy eyes caused by uneven levels of hydration on the front of the eye. Other symptoms may include blurred vision, contact lens discomfort, redness and confusingly, excessive watering. The medical term is keratoconjunctivitis sicca
Dry eye syndrome is a very common chronic (happens regularly or persistently) condition that can affect all ages, however your chances of developing dry eyes increase as you get older. Up to one in three people over the age of 65 may experience dry eyes*.
Dry eyes tend to get worse during the day, with the related condition of blepharitis you may wake with sore eyes.
Any uncomfortable eyes are best looked at by a professional, your optician will be able to inform you if you have dry eyes.
Any persistent reduction in vision, redness or light sensitivity should not be ignored & medical opinion sought as soon as possible.
The reasons for dry irritated eyes are wide and varied but may include or be related to:
- Contact lens wear
- Environmental factors (dry, dusty or polluted)
- Extended periods of concentration (computer, reading etc) when blink frequency is reduced
- Hormonal changes
- Arthritis or other general health issues
- LASIK laser eye surgery
- Prescription medication
- Blepharitis or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
A reduction in the quality of the lipid (oily or fatty) layer of the tear film will increase evaporation, resulting in an increase in watery tears (aqueous). In extreme cases the front of the eye may repel water (become hydrophobic) instead of attracting it.
There are many different things you can do to help your dry eyes:
Improvements in your environment can help, such as reduction of temperature, stopping smoking or removal of passive smoke and the use of humidifiers.
Taking regular breaks when working to rest the eyes, and avoiding air conditioned rooms.
Keeping hydrated has also been found to help
Dry eye is associated with other eye conditions called Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and MGD (Inability to produce quality tears), improvements in lid hygiene, the use of specialist heat treatment masks and gentle lid massage can improve the quality of tears
A wide range of artificial tears are available.
In extreme cases the drainage of the tear ducts can be reduced.
Preservatives are used in some dry eye drops (and contact lens solutions) to ensure the liquid remains sterile and cannot cause infections, however the prolonged use of drops containing these chemicals can lead to irritation. Preservative free drops are better for long term use, but can have shorter use by dates. Other methods of maintaining germ free drops include Spectrum Thea's ingenious dropper and filtration system in their Hyabak,Thealoz and ThealozDuo bottles ( it is also easy to squeeze, good for the elderly). Single dose minim style drops overcome the issue, but tend to be more expensive. Preservative "free in the eye" drops are a new idea where preservative chemicals breakdown once leaving the dispenser, Xailin HA is the first hyaluronic acid multidose dispenser which is preservative "free in the eye".
- Our full range of drops and gels are available here Ed recommends:
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Clinical Ophthalmology - J J Kanski Ocular Anatomy & Histology - Pipe & Rapley http://www.spectrum-thea.co.uk/ http://www.netdoctor.co.uk *http://www.nhs.uk/