Dry Eye Syndrome
What are Dry EyeS?
If your eyes do not make enough tears to keep them wet, or if the tears evaporate quickly due to their poor quality, it can cause dry eyes. Additionally, dry eyes may be due to an underlying medical condition, which we will discuss further.
The Association of Optometrists states that a quarter of the EU population is affected by this condition, making it a fairly widespread issue. Fortunately, various treatments can help manage the symptoms.
If your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable, our doctors can help diagnose the cause and find the best solution.
Dry Eyes Symptoms
Experiencing dry eyes can cause significant discomfort. Keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- A sensation of burning or stinging
- There is a gritty feeling within the eye
- Sensation of foreign object presence in the eye
- Redness around the eyes (excluding the eye itself)
- Excessive tearing (body's response to dry eyes)
- Light sensitivity
- Possibility of eyelids sticking together upon waking
- Fatigued eyes
- If you wear contact lenses, they might become notably uncomfortable
- Temporary blurred vision that should clear with blinking multiple times
While dry eyes can impact individuals of all backgrounds, certain factors increase the risk. These include:
- Engaging in prolonged screen time with computers, TVs, or phones.
- Frequent exposure to air-conditioned spaces or constant heating.
- Being aged 50 or older.
- Wearing contact lenses.
- Being female, hormonal fluctuations, especially during pregnancy, menopause, and contraceptive pill use, can contribute to dry eyes.
- Having an autoimmune disorder.
- Using specific medications like certain antidepressants, diuretics, and antihistamines.
- Residing in environments characterized by heat, cold, dryness, dust, or wind.
Dry eyes can occasionally indicate an underlying health issue, which might encompass the following:
Sjogren Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that impacts glands responsible for eye lubrication.
Blepharitis: This leads to redness, swelling, and potential infection of eyelids, contributing to dry eyes.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: Incorrect functioning of the oil-secreting meibomian glands, causing dry eyes.
Contact Dermatitis: Eye exposure to irritants leads to soreness, swelling, and dryness.
Diabetes: Diabetics are more prone to dry eyes and eye infections, including conjunctivitis.
Lupus: Roughly 25% of patients experience dry eyes due to the disease or its treatment.
Vitamin A Deficiency: Inadequate vitamin A levels can dry out the corneas.
Rosacea: This skin condition can extend to the eyes, causing dryness and a red rash.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Dry eyes frequently manifest as an initial symptom of this condition.
Allergies: Allergic reactions to substances like pollen, dust, or pet dander can lead to sore, itchy, and dry eyes.
It's important to note that this isn't an exhaustive list. Consulting a doctor is advisable if you suspect an underlying medical cause for your dry eyes. Sometimes, the cause of dry eye symptoms might not be related to a medical condition, and at times, no apparent cause is evident.
When to see a doctor
If you have been having issues with dry or irritated eyes regularly, or if it is impacting your sight, it is recommended to seek professional advice from an optician or doctor.
An eye doctor can assess your eyes, take note of your symptoms, and determine how your eyes are affected. If they can’t give you a diagnosis right away, you may be referred to do some tests, such as:
An eye exam
The purpose of this is to check the general health of your eyes.
Fluorescein dye test
An orange dye is administered to your eye, which temporarily colours the eye so your tears are more visible.
Schirmer’s tear test
A doctor will place blotting paper below your eyelid to measure five-minute tear production. Afterwards, they will be able to see how many tears were produced in that period.
To determine the cause of your condition, your doctor will recommend tests.
Tests may not be necessary in some cases.
A physician can recommend appropriate treatments and home remedies tailored to your specific type of dry eyes. Addressing any underlying conditions often resolves the dry eye issue.
Possible treatments encompass:
- Artificial Tears: Available as eye drops or gels, these maintain eye lubrication and are commonly used. Consult a doctor or pharmacist to determine the most suitable option, as various choices exist - some are over-the-counter, while others require a prescription or hospital administration.
- Nighttime Eye Ointments: These provide relief during sleep. Prior consultation with a GP or pharmacist is advised to ensure suitability.
- Anti-inflammatory eye Drops or Tablets: For severe cases, anti-inflammatory eye drops or tablets that may contain steroids are typically recommended, although there are potential side effects to consider.
- Medication Review: A doctor might suggest alternative prescriptions if your symptoms are medication-related.
- Surgery: In certain instances, surgery aims to prevent excessive tear drainage.
At-home measures to prevent dry eyes include:
- Using a Humidifier: This increases room moisture, aiding in eye lubrication.
- Maintaining a Balanced Diet: Incorporating omega-3 essential fatty acids promotes eye health.
- Limiting Contact Lens Use: Avoid wearing them constantly.
- Taking Screen Breaks: Regularly rest your eyes on screens, like computers.
- Wearing Protective Eyewear: Utilize wraparound sunglasses to shield eyes from wind, dust, and smoke.
- Avoiding Extreme Airflows: Prevent hot or cold air streams, such as redirecting car fans away from the face.
- Applying Warm Compresses: These help reduce inflammation.
- Practising Eye Hygiene: Keep eyes clean and free from potential irritants.
How we can help
At Mobi Doctor, our doctors are available at all times of the week to help with any issues you may have concerning your dry eyes. They can provide advice, diagnosis and treatment and refer you to a specialist if necessary. So, book an appointment today if you need help with your dry eyes.