WHAT IS DRY EYE?
Dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease is a condition where the eye does not produce enough tears, the tears are of a poor quality, or the they evaporate too quickly from the surface of the eye. This leads to the eyes becoming dry, red and irritated.
Symptoms can vary quite a lot, from mild irritation to severe pain and complications, and patients rarely describe their symptoms in exactly the same way. Symptoms can include: –
- Eyes feeling dry, gritty or sore
- Eyes burning
- Severe pain
- Blurry vision which changes as the patient blinks
- Eyes watering
This final symptom can be confusing and seems unusual to some, but where the eyes dry very quickly they tend to try and over-produce watery tears to compensate for this. This can lead to other problems like soreness of the skin around the eyes from excessive wiping, and blurred vision where the eyes are constantly filled with tears.
Depending on the cause of your dry eyes, the treatment can vary. For dry eye syndrome the treatment would normally take two forms.
- Improving the production and quality of the tears – the component of tears which stop them from drying is produced by glands in the eyelids. When these glands become clogged then this can reduce the volume of tears that are produced.Using a cleaning regime and gentle heat in these clogged glands can clear any blockages, reduce the chance of them clogging again, and therefore improve the quality and the amount of tears that are produced.
- Topping up where there is a shortage of tears – when the glands that produce the tears are blocked, or when they don’t produce a good enough quality of tears, the eyes become dry very quickly. This is when symptoms start to kick in. Although using eye drops doesn’t help the underlying cause of the dryness, they can help to make the eyes more comfortable and reduce the symptoms. The type of drops, and how often they need to be used, will depend on how dry the eyes are. Only your optometrist or GP can really decide this. However, there are lots of products available over the counter to help with the symptoms of dryness, so it’s worth speaking to your pharmacist who may be able to recommend something.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?
A routine eye examination with an optometrist can determine whether you have dry eye syndrome or whether your symptoms are due to an underlying condition or other external factors. They can also refer on to a specialist if they think that is best.
We’re here to help
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with or is concerned about dry eye, our fully qualified and experienced optometrists can perform a full assessment, answer any questions that you have to put your mind at ease. We are also able to refer into the NHS or private healthcare where necessary, as well as dealing with any aftercare needs.
@Home Healthcare is a home-based service providing eye examinations, low vision services and care home visits across South Wales for those who are unable to make it out to see an optician. We have combined 50 years of healthcare professional expertise with the one vision of improving our patients’ lives.
We really care about your vision, so if you or any of your relatives have noticed a change or simply want a check over your eye health then the good news is we’re here for you. Check whether you are eligible for a home visit then get in touch to book a consultation for yourself or your family member.