Year in, year out, the effects of Dry Eye tend to be felt universally and with 2018 behind us, we’re here to make sure you start the year right by putting your eye health and vision first! We’re setting you up to keep your eyes in tip top condition with this handy little Dry Eye guide that we’ve prepared – read on to find out more!
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when the tears in your eyes evaporate too quickly, or if your eyes simply cannot produce enough good quality tears to keep the surface of your eyes adequately lubricated. This condition is extremely common; most people experience Dry Eye during the Autumn/Winter season due to the exposure to both cold, dry air outside and hot, dry air from sources of heat indoors.
Some Dry Eye causes include:
- Prolonged digital screen use
- Smoke, wind and dry air from central heating
- Natural decrease in tear production due to ageing
- Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause
If you’re not sure whether you’re suffering from Dry Eye, take a look at what we consider to be some of the most common symptoms below:
- Itchy eyes
- Red eyes with a burning sensation
- Sticky, crusty eyelashes when waking up in the morning
- Gritty feeling or the sensation of a foreign body in the eye
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Blurred vision
As we mentioned previously, Dry Eye can be exacerbated through certain behaviours and tasks such as reading for prolonged periods of time, or excessive screen use, which naturally decreases your blinking rate. This makes a difference to the severity of your Dry Eye symptoms, as without sufficient blinking, your eyes are unable to spread tears across the surface of your eyes properly to keep them moist.
The Consequences of Untreated Dry Eye
Chronic Dry Eye has the potential to become more serious if not addressed in time, sometimes leading to corneal scarring and permanent tear duct damage. It is also associated with conditions like blepharitis, which is an inflammatory eye lid disease. Don’t worry though, this can all be managed and maintained successfully through Dry Eye treatment in the majority of cases.
How Can I Find the Right Dry Eye Treatment for Me?
The type of treatment for Dry Eye will depend on the severity of the condition, which is usually assessed during your initial Dry Eye consultation. This gives our Dry Eye specialists the chance to analyse your symptoms through a series of detailed tests and determine whether short or long-term treatment is required to alleviate the condition.
Short term treatment can include eye drops, removal of bacterial debris to reduce eyelid inflammation with our advanced Blepharitis management system – Blephex, or in some severe cases, referral for tear duct surgery to preserve your tears as much as possible.
Self-Preventative Tips for Dry Eye in 2019
There are certain preventive measures that you can take yourself in the meantime, to minimise the risk of Chronic Dry Eye. These include:
- Blinking frequently to let tears keep your eyes lubricated
- Use the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break from digital devices during the day
- Practise eyelid hygiene – keep them clean by gently wiping away any debris or dirt with a soft, damp cloth – this is vital!
- Use warm compresses to stimulate your tear ducts and gently massage your eyelids afterwards.
- Eye makeup can block the meibomian glands, so make sure it’s removed properly before you go to bed to prevent further irritation.
If you’re suffering from Dry Eye this winter and are experiencing vision problems or any discomfort as a result, please contact us on 020 8549 0331 or online to find out more about our Dry Eye Consultation.