Dry eye is very common in the UK, with one in four people suffering from it. It occurs when your eyes cannot make enough tears or stay wet long enough. This can be very uncomfortable for those with it and sometimes cause vision issues.
Who is at risk of dry eye?
Unfortunately, anyone can suffer from dry eye. However, it is more common in those:
- That are 50 years old or over
- That are female
- Who wears contact lenses
- Who don’t get enough vitamin A or Omega 3
- Who suffer from autoimmune conditions, including lupus or Sjogren syndrome
There is good news for those who do suffer from dry eye, however, as it can be treated.
The symptoms of dry eye
- Stinging or burning feeling in your eye
- Red eyes
- Sensitive to light
- Scratchy feeling or a constant sense of something in your eye
- Blurry vision
How will my optometrist check?
Optometrists can check for dry eye in routine eye tests. The eye health test is simple and pain-free. It will involve sitting comfortably resting your chin on a special machine where a bright light will be used to allow your optometrist to assess your eyes.
If you think you have dry eye, let your Optometrist know at the start of your appointment, or better yet, mention it when you are being booked for an eye test. This way, you can be provided with an optometrist that specialises in this area.
How is it treated?
There are a few different treatments for dry eyes, depending on the severity of the condition.
- Over-the-counter eye drops. This is the most common treatment and acts as artificial tears. Eye drops can instantly make your eyes feel better.
- Prescription medicines. If you have a more severe case of then your Optometrist might give you a prescription for medicines called cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra). These are a form of eye drops which are stronger than over-the-counter versions.
- Lifestyle changes. Sometimes dry eye can be caused by something in your environment. Your Optometrist can advise you on what you can change to minimise these environmental factors.
- Tear duct plugs. If your dry eyes are due to tears draining too quickly from your eyes, then your Optometrist could suggest putting special punctum plugs in your tear ducts. These plugs will help keep the tears and moisture in your eyes.
- Surgery. Some cases of dry eye can be caused by eyelid problems. Surgery can help fix your eyelids and improve dry eye symptoms. This treatment is not very common.
Your optometrist will be able to advise on the best treatment for you. At Dolphin Optometrists, we have experts in dry eyes, Mandy Davidson and Ann Forbes, who run our TEAR clinic. Contact us today on 01444 454808 or email@example.com to learn more and book an eye test or treatment for today.