WHAT IS DRY EYE?
Dry Eye is a condition which affects about 10% of people between the ages of 30 and 60 and more than 15% of adults over age 65.
Dry eye sensations occur when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. This can lead to inflammation of the surface of the eye & the eyelids. Whilst permanent loss of vision is uncommon, if dry eye is left untreated, it can lead to pain, ulcers, or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision.
Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane.
With each blink of the eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain into the back of the nose. Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DRY EYE?
Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:
Any combination of these symptoms may be present. Often, the symptoms fluctuate from day to day, or even hour to hour. In mild cases, symptoms may be intermittent and tolerable, while in severe cases, the symptoms may be constant, severe, and very disruptive to daily activities.
NOTE: If symptoms of dry eye persist, consult our optometrists to get an accurate diagnosis of the condition and begin treatment to avoid permanent damage.
If you are concerned that you may have dry eye please complete the following dry eye test take it with you when you see the optometrist.
HOW DO YOU TELL IF YOU HAVE DRY EYE?
Looking at the symptoms and potential causes of dry eye syndrome will help determine if you may be suffering from a treatable condition. However, it is important to make an appointment to see our optometrist who will run a number of tests to accurately diagnose your condition using an Oculus Keratograph.
The Oculus Keratograph is able to analyse 4 key Dry eye factors:
This very advanced equipment can produce a report on the cause and severity of your Dry eye symptoms.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MYSELF?
You can take the following steps to reduce symptoms of dry eyes:
- Remember to blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.
- Increase the humidity in the air at work and at home. A humidifier also may help by adding moisture to the air.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors, particularly those with wraparound frames, to reduce exposure to drying winds and the sun.
- Nutritional supplements containing essential fatty acids may help decrease dry eye symptoms in some people. Ask your optometrist if taking dietary supplements could help your dry eye problems.
- Avoiding becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water (8 to 10 glasses) each day.
- Use artificial tears, gels, gel inserts, and ointments – available over the counter – as the first line of therapy. They offer temporary relief and provide an important replacement of naturally produced tears in patients with aqueous tear deficiency. Avoid artificial tears with preservatives if you need to apply them more than four times a day or preparations with chemicals that cause blood vessels to constrict.