Are your eyes feeling dry or irritated? You could be suffering from Dry Eye. Dry eye is a very common condition and is also easily resolved, with proper diagnosis and treatment.
Affecting 20% of adults in New Zealand (and Australia), dry eye can be both frustrating and irritating, especially when it interferes with your day-to-day activities.
What exactly is dry eye?
Dry eye is a broad term describing any range of factors that reduce the volume of tears in the eye. Tears protect the front of the eye, providing lubrication and nutrients to the cornea and creating a smooth front surface for clear vision. They consist of a watery layer to keep the eyes moisturized with an oily layer on top. The oily layer is particularly important for maintaining a smooth surface for consistent vision, and preventing excessive tear evaporation. A reduction in the tear layer may be caused by blocked or poor performing oil glands.This is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (aka MGD).
Without good oils, the tears cannot lubricate the eye properly, causing symptoms which vary from a constant niggle, to severe irritation that affects your quality of life. This leads to dryness, irritation, redness and blurred vision.
What are the symptoms?
Blurry, fluctuating vision
Feeling the need to blink more often
Gritty, irritated sensation
Stinging or achiness
Eye and eyelid redness
Sensitivity to light
Symptoms can be different for everyone, and fluctuate due to environmental factors; such as wind, air conditioning, artificial lighting, using your computer or smartphone, air pollution, driving, wearing contact lenses etc.
Who’s at risk of getting dry eye?
Dry eye tends to affect females more than males, and can be part of the natural aging process (especially during menopause). As well as a side effect to many medications, including oral contraception.
If you have arthritis, asthma, gout, diabetes, or are over 40 years old, you may also be prone to dry eye.
Those who suffer from dry eye, try an average of 3.8 different types of eye drops before seeing an Optometrist. Don’t wait. Eye drops only offer temporary relief, whereas the team at OCULA will do a thorough eye examination to find the underlying cause of the problem.
To manage symptoms:
- Eye drops: There are a variety of eye drops that are used to provide temporary relief of symptoms of dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction.
- Warm compresses: are an effective way to ensure that the glands don’t get clogged again, allowing your eye to feel more comfortable. We recommend our warm compress eye mask for relieving MGD symptoms; they are much more effective than using a face cloth, for example as the heat is sustained for a longer period, allowing more time to remove blockages. They are also more effective than traditional wheat bags as the heat is a moist, humid heat which alleviates any associated dry eye symptoms; whereas a wheat bag can exacerbate any dry eye and allergy symptoms.
To treat dry eye:
Omega 3: there is a significant amount of evidence that omega-3 oils help reduce dry eye symptoms, due to their anti-inflamortary properties. In New Zealand, it’s recommended adults have 2 servings of oily fish each week, to give you enough omega-3 fatty acids. If eating fish is difficult, then supplements can be helpful. However, particularly with omega-3, it is important that you choose a high-quality product. Our optometrists recommend the Bioceuticals UltraClean DHA/EPA Plus omega-3 supplements.
E-Eye IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) therapy is one of the most effective treatment options, providing long-term relief of dry eye symptoms. For more information on what it is, how it works, what happens in a session and how many sessions you’ll need, head to our IPL treatment page.
Book an appointment
If you have itchy, scratchy, burning or red eyes you might have dry eye - click the below link to book a free dry eye chat with one of our optometrists to determine the best eye care management pathway for you. Or if you have been struggling with irritated and dry eyes for longer than 6 months, tried multiple eyedrops and are looking for a comprehensive dry eye management plan to deliver an effective outcome, book a Dry Eye Investigation via the 'Book An Appointment' button above.
Do I have dry eye? Are your eyes itchy, scratchy, watery, sticky, sore, red, burny, blurry or just downright grumpy with you? Sounds like dry eye and the best thing you can do is have one of our optometrists take a look.
Book an appointment (above) with one of our friendly optometrists, and we can take a comprehensive look at your eyes and recommend a treatment plan, if needed.
Can I get rid of dry eye? Unfortunately dry eye tends to be a condition that requires ongoing management. A bit like having dry legs… sometimes you need more moisturiser than others! The good news is the majority of patients can achieve ongoing sustained comfort without too many adjustments to lifestyle.
Why are my eyes worse in winter? Winter is a killer for dry eyes, as artificial heating, combined with very low humidity can worsen symptoms. Treating dry eyes effectively before spring can also improve a patient’s allergies, as allergies and dry eyes are intrinsically linked in a vicious cycle of one exacerbating the other.
What is the difference between a Free Dry Eye Chat and a Dry Eye Investigation?
If you have itchy, scratchy, burning or red eyes you might have dry eye. If you think this is the case book a FREE Dry Eye Chat with one of our optometrists for a screening assessment to determine the best eye care management pathway for you. On the other hand, if you have been struggling with irritated and dry eyes for 6 months or more, tried multiple eyedrops and are ready for a comprehensive dry eye management strategy aimed to deliver an effective outcome, book a Dry Eye Investigation in our Dry Eye Clinic.