What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome or dry eye is a common condition affecting approximately 1 in 4 people at some time in their life. The condition affects the normal tear production of the eyes by either failing to produce enough tears or producing tears of poor quality, which means the tears dry up too quickly leaving them feeling dry and irritated. There are normally three layers to the tears; an oily (lipid) layer, a watery (aqueous) layer, and a sticky (mucous) layer. The most common form of dry eye is called meibomian gland dysfunction which is where the glands that make the oily layer of the tears does not work properly, this allows the watery layer of the tears to dry out.
What causes dry eye?
Dry eye can be part of the normal aging process as the glands that produce our tears become less effective as we age. General health conditions such as autoimmune disease and hormonal changes may increase the risk of developing dry eye as well as it being a side effect from some medications. Smoking has been linked to dry eye as it may both cause and worsen the condition.
The environment can influence dry eye. Windy, cold, dry and/or dusty weather can make the condition more common as can air conditioning and central heating.
Long periods of concentration on computers, handheld devices like smartphones and tablets and even reading can reduce the amount of blinks we take and leave your eyes feeling dry.
What are the symptoms dry eye?
If you suffer from dry eye you may experience the following symptoms:
A sandy gritty feeling
Uncomfortable and sometimes painful eyes
Itching or burning sensations
Short term blurred vision
Watery eyes, watery eyes are a common sign of dry eye and can mean that your eyes are producing poor quality tears.
What do I do next?
If you feel that you are suffering with dry eye or you are experiencing any of the symptoms then you are in the right place. Here at Clark Family Eyecare our dry eye assessments have been designed to help people to understand the condition and learn how to manage it. During a dry eye assessment our optometrist will carefully assess your symptoms, using various techniques to closely assess the quality and quantity of the tears and establish what may be causing it.
During the assessment a treatment and management plan will be designed in order for you to manage the condition and its symptoms at home. Follow up appointments will be necessary to keep an eye on the symptoms and treatments.