We discover the causes and symptoms of dry eyes and how to treat them in this helpful Q&A.
What are the main symptoms of dry eyes?
There are lots of different symptoms that you can experience when you are suffering from dry eyes, including:
- Dry or sore eyes
- Blurred vision
- The feeling of something being in your eye
- A burning sensation
- Watering eyes
- Eye irritation
What are the main causes of dry eyes?
Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a common eye disorder where the eyes don’t make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly.
It happens when your body doesn't produce enough tears. This can happen for a number of reasons. For example, when the tears created are of a poor quality, and the tear film doesn’t function properly. It can also be when your tears evaporate too quickly because the oil glands around the eyes are blocked or abnormal.
What external factors influence dry eyes?
There are many lifestyle factors that can contribute to the incidence of dry eyes. These can include: prolonged periods of driving, computer usage, long-term contact lens wear, the weather, pollution, smoking and your diet in general.
Other contributing factors include: use of certain medications, autoimmune diseases, laser or cosmetic surgery, and long-term use of glaucoma eye drops.
Can staring at a screen all day contribute to or exacerbate the symptoms of dry eyes?
Yes any ‘low blink rate’ activity can increase the likelihood of dry eyes. People who stare at computer screens all day at work, or regularly use tablets and mobile devices, naturally blink less. This means less tears are produced, and you are therefore more likely to experience dry eye symptoms.
Can changes in the environment or temperature contribute to dry eyes?
Absolutely, eyes are sensitive to irritations from allergies, chemicals and pollutants in the air. You may notice that your eyes are red and itchy on days when pollution levels are high. Wearing sunglasses can reduce eye irritation, or even staying indoors when pollution levels are at a peak.
When indoors, air-conditioning can contribute to dry eye symptoms. Try using a humidifier in your home or office to increase moisture in the air.
What steps can be taken to combat these causes?
Leading a healthier lifestyle will only improve your eye health, such as reducing alcohol intake, stopping smoking and eating a healthier diet.
Other tips to help reduce the incidence of dry eyes include:
- Reduce your screen time and rest your eyes. Once every 20 seconds when you are on your phone, tablet or computer, rest your eyes and look away from the screen. This will make your eyes blink therefore increasing the number of tears in your eyes.
- Get enough sleep each night;
- Use a humidifier when you are indoors to ensure that you keep a consistent level of moisture in the atmosphere;
- Try and reduce spending too much time in air conditioned areas or in close vicinities of fans blowing dry air near to the eyes;
- Drink more water to avoid dehydration;
- Wear sunglasses to avoid direct sunlight and wind drying out your eyes.
What sorts of people are more likely to suffer from dry eyes?
Dry eye can affect both sexes, but particularly women at or after the menopause. Older people are also more likely to suffer generally, with up to a third of people aged 65 or older suffering from dry eye.
Dry eye can also be a side effect of certain medications and, if you are suffering from certain chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, you may be more susceptible.
Are there any wider problems associated with dry eyes?
Typically, mild to moderate levels of dry eye can be managed by eye drops that are available from pharmacies and opticians, and simple changes in lifestyle or daily activities.
However, if the condition does get worse, it is advised that you visit your optician to investigate further. Dry eye can be an indication of other eye conditions—including blepharitis, which is when the oil-secreting glands become blocked.
Can chronic dry eyes be cured?
As mentioned before, changes to your behaviour and making a few lifestyle changes can reduce the incidence of dry eyes.
However, for many, the symptoms are inevitable and therefore need to be treated. Using a lubricating eye drop will help to reduce the soreness, and offers rapid and prolonged relief from dry-eye discomfort.
What can people do to avoid their chances of suffering with dry eyes?
As well as the advice that we have given above, there are some long-term actions you can take to reduce the chances of suffering from dry eyes:
- Make sure that you have regular eye tests. These visits are a good opportunity to discuss any issues you may be having—and can even detect serious problems, such as diabetes, before you even know they exist.
- Eat green vegetables. A diet rich in fruits, leafy greens and omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of dry eyes.
- Ensure that you drink enough water. Without enough water, your body can’t produce tears to keep your eyes moist and nourished.
Clinitas—Long lasting, value for money eye drops
The Clinitas range of dry eye products brings rapid and prolonged relief from dry-eye discomfort. The range includes Clinitas Soothe and Clinitas Soothe Multi. Both contain preservative free 0.4% sodium hyaluronate in a choice of resealable unit dose vials or a 10ml multi-dose bottle.
0.4 percent sodium hyaluronate is the highest available concentration for an eye drop. Its formulation is dual acting, boosting and stabilising the tear film that coats and protects the eye. It provides rapid relief, stays in the eye for long-lasting comfort, is preservative free and is suitable for contact lens wearers.
In addition, the range includes Clinitas Hydrate, a gel formulation eye product that is often recommended for night time use.
The Clinitas range is available from your GP on prescription, but is also available to buy from independent opticians and pharmacies, or online from https://www.altacorproducts.shop