Dry Eye Disease

It is estimated that fifty percent of the population now have some degree of dry eye disease.

What is dry eye disease?

Dry eye is a multi-factorial disease which causes an imbalance in the component parts of the tears leading to an unstable tear film, hyperosmolanty (tears are too salty), inflammation of the surface of the eye (cornea) and other knock on effects.

Dry eye can present itself in a number of ways. For example,

The eyes may feel gritty or irritable usually worse morning and evening.

You may get intermittent blurred vision which clears when blinking.

You may get the sensation of having something in your eye, or they may feel stingy or itchy.

Your eyes may water excessively as the unstable tear film falls out of the eye.

What causes dry eye disease?

Dry eye is multifactorial i.e. has many causes, such as the following;

● Being in a warm, dry or windy environment such as (air conditioned offices or, walking on a cold day)

● Increasing amount of time spent on devices.

Blink rate is significantly reduced whist performing concentrated near tasks such as, reading or using phones, tablets, laptops etc. leading to dry eye symptoms.

● Age – as age increases so does the likelihood of experiencing dry eye, especially for the over 65’s.

● Underlying health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome are examples of conditions associated with dry eye disease.

● Hormonal changes, e.g. in pregnancy, can also cause dry eyes.

● Certain medications can cause dry eye as a side effect, such as preservatives in some glaucoma medications.

How do I manage my dry eye?

As dry eye is a chronic (long term) condition it is important it is managed appropriately. This is why at Argus Opticians we carry out a comprehensive assessment of your dry eye so a treatment plan can be tailored specifically for your dry eye.

We have many years’ experience managing dry eye and use the latest technology and treatments to ensure the best level of care.

There are a number of steps you can take to manage dry eye yourself and minimise symptoms. These include;

● Being aware of your environment, avoid long spells in dry environments or if you have to spend time in a dry environment get a humidifier or place bowls of water about you.

● Increase your blink rate (think blink!)

● Reduce device time.

● Wear wraparound eyewear on windy days (walking etc.).

● Maintain good eyelid hygiene (use lid wipes daily).

● Avoid smokey environments.

● Improve your diet by moderating intake of caffeine and alcohol and increasing intake of water and omega 3.

What treatments are available for dry eye disease?

At Argus Opticians we offer a broad spectrum of the latest treatments solutions for dry eye. These include, lid hygiene products, warm and cold compresses, omega-3 supplements and of course the mainstay of dry eye, lubricating drops, gels and ointments.

As the severity of dry eye symptoms can range from mild to severe our lubricating drops vary depending on the type of dry eye you have. Most of our dry eye products are preservative free and this is because preservatives over time can themselves damage surface cells and cause inflammation.

When we prescribe lubricants we provide clear instructions as how best to use them to minimise your dry eye symptoms and we review our dry eye patients regularly to ensure that their treatment regimen is an ongoing success.

What could happen if you didn’t manage your dry eye?

Dry eye can be a very debilitating condition and if allowed to progress to an advanced stage can eventually result in complications such as scarring of the cornea. Therefore it is important to continue to manage your dry eye as best you can.

If you suffer from dry eye or would like to have an assessment to determine whether or not you have dry eye please contact us to arrange a consultation at our specialist dry eye clinic.