Dry Eyes are a common problem that can occur when the eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This can lead to relatively minor soreness and redness, but can cause severe symptoms and lead to extreme pain and the sight being affected in some cases.
It is important to be seen very quickly if the dry eyes cause andy of the three symptoms:
Sensitivity to light
Dry eyes are more common in women and increasing age, but can occur in anyone at anytime. They are commonly caused by changes in the weather, contact lens wear and blepahritis.
Symptoms may include, burning, grittiness, stickiness. The vision can become blurred and the symptoms may worsen over the course of the day or be worse first thing in the morning. Many people paradoxically, develop ‘watery eyes’ which may be caused by the irritation creating too many tears or an unstable tear film which does not adequately coat and adhere to the surface of the eyes.
If the symptoms are mild and can be managed with simple treatments and recommendations about care of the eyes and lids.
In mild cases, with no vision disturbance it is safe to use an ‘over the counter tear drop’ which can relieve a temporary dry eye and be a short treatment.
Where there is an associated cause which leads to recurring problems, it is important to identify the issue and either reduce the exposure or modify the environment to relive the dry eyes.
Adequate management of associated lid disease such as ‘blepharitis’ is very important and often requires support for longer term control.
Any inflammation is important to identify early and treat, usually with topical medications.
Very rarely a surgical procedure to ensure the tears drain away from the eye surface is required.
Self- Care of Dry Eyes
Keep your eyes clean, with gentle bathing of the lids.
Take extra care in windy, dry, cold or dirty environments.
Ensure you have regular checks if you wear contact lenses.
If you work on a ‘screen’ ensure you remember to ‘blink’ and take regular eye breaks.