25 Apr 2017Eye Health

What Dry Eye Is and How You Can Relieve Symptoms

Dry Eye is a common eye condition where the ability to produce or maintain normal tears is compromised. It can be caused by the eye not producing enough tears (aqueous deficiency) or by the tears that are produced evaporating very easily (evaporative tear loss). It can result in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface^1^.

1 What Causes Dry Eye [Audio File]

There are many reasons why healthy tears are important. As well as providing a layer of moisture and lubrication to the front surface of the eye, they also provide a protective role in eliminating bacteria and flushing away debris.

Dry Eye can be caused within the eye; where certain glands that produce tears may not function properly or could be blocked. It can also occur due to some medical conditions such as Sjogrens Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Allergy

Certain medications can have side effects that cause dry eye symptoms, and it tends to affect more women than men. These days and probably most commonly, dry eye symptoms can be felt on a daily basis with prolonged computer use, staring at phones or tablets, driving for long periods and air conditioning. 

Our eyes are working harder than ever before and all these daily activities can cause tired and gritty symptoms

In general, treating dry eyes is manageable, but there isn’t one recommendation that fits all due to the fact that dry eye syndrome can be caused by many different factors. There are various ways to relieve symptoms depending on the severity of the condition.

2 Recommendations For Relieving Dry Eye Symptoms [Audio file]

  • Eye drops will give an instant, refreshing relief to most eyes as they will aim to replenish lost tears. There are many eye drops available and some will suit more than others. Generally, the longer the effect of the eye drop on the eye, the better the eye will feel. A good, key component in eye drops is hyaluronic acid. This is a molecule that can be found naturally in our skin, joints, gums and in our tear film. Its main function is to help keep tissues hydrated. As it has unique water retention properties it is an ideal element to add to eye drops so that they can last longer on the eye surface. Furthermore, if drops have to be used regularly, it is best if they are preservative free to help prevent sensitive eyes becoming intolerant to them.

  • If Dry Eye has been diagnosed, quite often lid hygiene treatment is recommended. Within the eyelids, there are glands that produce clear oil which is an important component in our natural tear film. These glands can block up due to the oil solidifying therefore bringing the eyelids to a certain temperature will help treat this. Heated eye masks are available to do just that. This would then be followed by a gentle eye massage and cleanse to promote better tear quality. This process is very relaxing and can help relieve tired eyes as well.

  • If dry eye symptoms are felt during a busy working day, good advice would be to drink water, take regular breaks from screen work by applying the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for about 20 seconds) and consider eye drops to help refresh the eyes. If symptoms still persist the best advice will be to visit your optician and be advised by them as they can do tests and measurements that would help diagnose the condition better.

Author: Serena Kalsi, Professional Relations Consultant - Bausch + Lomb UK

1. DEWS Report (2007) The Ocular Surface. Available at: [www.theocularsurface.com]


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What Dry Eye Is and How You Can Relieve Symptoms
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