Most Australians will experience symptoms of dry eyes at some stage in their lives. Dry eye syndrome can occur at any age, and in people who are otherwise healthy. It is a multi-factorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface”.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
- Stinging or burning
- Itchiness (particularly in the corners of the eyes)
- Occasional blurred vision
- Tired eyes (a feeling of needing to close the eyes)
- Mucous around the eyelids, particularly upon waking
- A feeling of grittiness, or the sensation of something foreign in the eye, (like an eyelash or a grain of sand).
In some parts of the world, where malnutrition results in a vitamin A deficiency, dry eye syndrome is much more common.
Causes of Dry Eye:
Some people produce fewer tears or lower quality tears. It is more common in older people and after menopause. Sometimes dry eye is caused by eyelid inflammation, computer use or due to some diseases or medicines. Dry eye can be caused by many things, including late nights (‘party eyes’), wind, dust, smoke, air conditioning, air pollution, chemicals, sunlamps, glare from snow, sand or the sea, staring at a computer or (very common problem)-sleeping in contact lenses. Your eyes will feel sore, red, watery, itchy or irritated.
Treatment for Dry eye:
Depending on the type of dry eye a person has, treatment may aim to increase tear production, maintain tear film volume, or prevent excess loss of tears.
A range of options may be used, including:
- Making a conscious effort to blink more often.
- Eye drops, gels or ointments to lubricate the surface of the eye.
- Boosting the humidity of the air at home and at work by placing bowls of water around the room.
- Some medication can cause dry eye. Consult your doctor or optometrist about the side effects of the medication you take
- Taking high dose Omega-3 supplements has been found to reduce the inflammation around the lids and improve symptoms of dry eye sufferers
- Intense Pulsed Light treatment for meibmian gland dysfunction.
- Special plugs can be inserted into the tear ducts to prevent excessive loss of tears.
- In severe cases, surgery may be considered.
It’s always wise to get professional advice for your eye conditions. As you can see, there is a wide variety of causes and treatments for dry eye. Treating the cause correctly reduces the need to use drops and helps improve patients’ quality of life dramatically. Contact us now for a Dry Eye Consultation.