Dry Eyes

dryeyeDry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly.

This leads to the eyes drying out and becoming inflamed (red and swollen) and irritated. Dry eye syndrome is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or simply ‘dry eyes’.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome

The symptoms of dry eye syndrome usually affect both eyes and often include:

  • Feelings of dryness, grittiness or soreness that get worse throughout the day
  • Red eyes
  • Eyelids that stick together when you wake up
  • Temporarily blurred vision, which usually improves when you blink
  • Foreign body sensation- as if you have got something in your eye
  • Watery eyes
At Pendleburys we offer Dry Eye Clinic appointments to our patients, to assist with the management of Dry Eye. Click here for further details. 

What causes dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome can occur when the complex tear production process is disrupted in some way. There are many different reasons why this can happen, although a single identifiable cause is not often found.

Common causes include:

  • Hot or windy climate, or relating to time of year when outside temperature is changing.
  • Environment or task related – computer work and other visual tasks, Air-Con and Central Heating.
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Certain underlying medical conditions, such as Blepharitis- link to our Blepharitis page (inflammation of the eyelids), Arthritic conditions.
  • Side effects of certain medications, for example- Contraceptive Pill, HRT, Beta Blockers and Anti- histamines
  • Hormonal changes, such as during the menopause
  • Dry eyes are common following Lasik corrective surgery

Although the condition can affect people of any age, your chances of developing dry eye syndrome increase as you get older. It’s estimated that up to one in every three people over the age of 65 experiences problems with dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is also more common in women than men.

How dry eye syndrome is treated

Dry eye syndrome is not usually a serious condition.  In the mildest of cases it may be sufficient to take regular breaks from activities which may cause the dryness, try to blink more often whilst undertaking tasks where we may not blink as often whilst concentrating.

Treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms, which include, Blephex,  eye drops and sprays to lubricate the eye, home care treatment packs including supplements. Also sometimes medication is used to reduce inflammation and if necessary surgey to prevent tears from draining away easily. If Dry Eye Syndrome has been caused by an underlying condition, treating this condition will usually help relieve the symptoms.

Further Information

Dry Eye Syndrome (NHS Choices)