Eye Care – Dry Eyes

Eye Care – Dry Eyes

Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. Eyes dry out and become red and swollen and irritated. Dry eye syndrome is a common complaint and can affect people of any age, but the chances of developing dry eye syndrome increases as you get older.


Common Causes

The natural ageing process

Problems with blinking or problems with the glands which produce tears

Some Medication such as antihistamines or oral contraceptives

Wearing contact lenses

Living in a windy or hot climate

Hormonal changes, such as during menopause

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Eyes that feel dry, gritty and sore and these symptoms worsen over the course of the day

Foreign body sensation

Eyelids stuck together upon waking up

Temporarily blurred vision, which usual improves upon blinking

Red Eyes

Reducing the symptoms

Lowering the temperature indoors – high temperatures make the tears evaporate more quickly

Central heating can make the air quite dry and sitting directly in front of a heating source like the fire can cause symptoms

Sometimes humidifies can help by moistening the air

Many people find that dry eye is worse during tasks such as reading or computer work. This is usually because we unconsciously blink less when we are doing anything that needs lots of visual attention

Artificial Tears

Artificial tears in the form of drops are usually the mainstays of treatment for people with dry eye. The aim of the treatment is to supplement the tears and therefore make the eye more comfortable. They also stop any damage to the front of the eye from a prolonged period of dryness

Advice for using Eye Drops

Don’t share your eye drops with anyone else

Patients using contact lenses should use a preservative free lubricant

Many eye drops and gels should be thrown away 28 days after opening, but some newer eye drops can be kept for up to six months after opening – be sure to read the box!