Dry Eye Syndrome

Do you have dry, gritty or irritated eyes? Dry Eye is more common than you think, and it currently affects one in four people – according to the AOP. There are many different causes of dry and our in-depth analysis would help us to recommend the best way of treating your eyes successfully.

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Dry Eye Syndrome

Do you have dry, gritty or irritated eyes? Dry Eye is more common than you think, and it currently affects one in four people – according to the AOP. There are many different causes of dry and our in-depth analysis would help us to recommend the best way of treating your eyes successfully.

Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca) can affect people of all ages and occurs when there is a problem with the tear film due to excessive evaporation or tear deficiency. Either you’re not making enough lubricating tears or the ones you do make could dry up too quickly rendering the front of the eye dry and irritated. This is when watery tears are produced which can help for a short time but can leave the eye feeling gritty and uncomfortable. You may also find that symptoms become worse as the day goes on.

Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is another condition which can affect the eyelids making them sore, red and inflamed. This happens when the eyelid glands become blocked, due to a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction. It is not uncommon to have a combination of these conditions.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is also an important factor when considering the causes of dry eye. In recent years, we have had an increase in the usage of screens from mobile phones to computers and tablets. If you are concentrating on your computer for long periods of time without a break, it can also make your eyes feel dry. Blinking is also reduced when you are staring at a screen, this negatively affects how tears are distributed over the eye. If you find you are not blinking enough it can cause symptoms such as burning and there is also friction between the lid due to the decrease in lubrication which can make the symptoms worse.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is another condition which can affect the eyelids making them sore, red and inflamed. This happens when the eyelid glands become blocked, due to a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction. It is not uncommon to have a combination of these conditions.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is also an important factor when considering the causes of dry eye. In recent years, we have had an increase in the usage of screens from mobile phones to computers and tablets. If you are concentrating on your computer for long periods of time without a break, it can also make your eyes feel dry. Blinking is also reduced when you are staring at a screen, this negatively affects how tears are distributed over the eye. If you find you are not blinking enough it can cause symptoms such as burning and there is also friction between the lid due to the decrease in lubrication which can make the symptoms worse.

What to expect at your dry eye consultation?

We will discuss your history – how your dry eye started and how long it has been going on for. We will also conduct a blinking assessment to give you advice on how to improve it. We will also tell you if you have meibomian gland dysfunction and offer advise on how to help you to get the glands working again.

Additionally, we will discuss lifestyle changes that may have occurred including hormonal changes or medication or any risk factors that could relate to your dry eye. We will also discuss your general health.

We will discuss your history – how your dry eye started and how long it has been going on for. We will also conduct a blinking assessment to give you advice on how to improve it. We will also tell you if you have meibomian gland dysfunction and offer advise on how to help you to get the glands working again.

Additionally, we will discuss lifestyle changes that may have occurred including hormonal changes or medication or any risk factors that could relate to your dry eye. We will also discuss your general health.

Treatments

Drops

There are lots of different types of drops and gels that can help your eyes feel more comfortable. The best ones don’t have preservatives in them, or if they do they contain very gentle preservatives, which helps to reduce irritation. They may also contain an ingredient called sodium hyaluronate, known to be very effective in treating the condition.

Diet – the higher the intake of omega 3 the lower the likelihood of dry eye, omega 3’s help to reduce ocular surface disease and help the function of the Meibomian glands – contraindications to omega 3 is blood thinners

It’s important to use the correct type of drops.  If your drops aren’t working or you’re not sure which drops to use, our optometrists can advise you and may be able to offer other treatment options such as Meibomian gland expression, lacrimal sac washes and punctal plugs.

Drops

There are lots of different types of drops and gels that can help your eyes feel more comfortable. The best ones don’t have preservatives in them, or if they do they contain very gentle preservatives, which helps to reduce irritation. They may also contain an ingredient called sodium hyaluronate, known to be very effective in treating the condition.

Diet – the higher the intake of omega 3 the lower the likelihood of dry eye, omega 3’s help to reduce ocular surface disease and help the function of the Meibomian glands – contraindications to omega 3 is blood thinners

It’s important to use the correct type of drops.  If your drops aren’t working or you’re not sure which drops to use, our optometrists can advise you and may be able to offer other treatment options such as Meibomian gland expression, lacrimal sac washes and punctal plugs.

Eye Hygiene

There is a range of products designed especially for lid hygiene such as sterile pads, individual moist wipes and separate cleaning solutions. Our optometrists will be able to advise you on which products would be best suited to you. Antibiotic ointment may be recommended in severe cases.

As part of the treatment, you need to remove all the crusting and debris from the edge of your eyelids and from between your eyelashes. You should use your cleaning product. You may not see any improvement for several weeks. Continue the treatment twice a day for at least one month, then less often as it starts to get better. You will probably need to continue to clean your lids at least twice a week to help prevent the condition from returning. Treatment method. Wash your hands before and after cleaning your eyelids.  Rub the moistened pad or cotton ball firmly but gently along the eyelid edges to remove the crusts and debris. Take care to wipe between the eyelashes of both the upper and lower lids. Use a fresh pad or wipe each time. Dry your eyes gently.

Hot Compress

Treatment involves releasing the oily tears from the glands using hot compresses. We recommend using an heat bag which is specially designed for this condition. Close your eyes, and secure the eyebag onto your eyelids for 10 minutes. Repeat every day until the condition gets better. Massaging your eyelids after the heat bag has been removed is essential.  In our dry eye clinics special forcepts can be used to manually express the glands.

Hot Compress

Treatment involves releasing the oily tears from the glands using hot compresses. We recommend using an heat bag which is specially designed for this condition. Close your eyes, and secure the eyebag onto your eyelids for 10 minutes. Repeat every day until the condition gets better. Massaging your eyelids after the heat bag has been removed is essential.  In our dry eye clinics special forcepts can be used to manually express the glands.

Contact Lenses for Dry Eye

We believe having dry eyes needn’t be a barrier for you to enjoy wearing contact lenses. Our contact lens specialists can recommend the best lenses to suit your specific needs.

E-Eye Technology

E-Eye is a system that uses patented Intense Regulated Pulsed Light which can provide long-term relief from the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome. The light emitted is calibrated at the exact frequency required to stimulate the meibomian glands therefore restoring the lipid layer.

Once the lipid layer is restored, the tear film cannot evaporate as quickly: resulting in healthier, more comfortable eyes.

We can conduct the first E-Eye session at the same time as your dry eye assessment if you decide to go ahead with this treatment. We typically conduct the sessions on day 1, 15, 45 and 75. Some people feel a benefit following the first treatment, but most after 15 days. Following the 3rd treatment at day 45 and the 4th one month later, the eyes should be more capable of coping with prolonged computer use, hot environments and air-conditioning. Not everyone can give up total use of eye lubricants, but most can reduce this significantly. We are also able to repeat the process later if needed, although for many the relief gained can last up to three years.

Contact us today for a dry eye consultation

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If you have a question, why not ask Mike and Teresa Broadhurst?

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