Are your eyes feeling dry or irritated? You could be suffering from Dry Eye. 

Dry Eye is a very common condition and can be resolved, with proper diagnosis and treatment. Affecting 20% of adults in New Zealand, Dry Eye can be frustrating, especially when it interferes with your day-to-day activities. 

Learn more about Dry Eye

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 moisturised 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.

Dry Eye symptoms

  • Blurry, fluctuating vision
  • Feeling the need to blink more often
  • Dryness
  • Gritty, irritated sensation
  • Stinging or achiness
  • Overly-watery eyes
  • 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.

What is the best way forward?

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.

Dry eye treatments

  • 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 the 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.

It's time to see an expert!

Don't let Dry Eye affect your day-to-day life. Let our team treat your eyes today.

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