20 September 2016
As part of National Eye Health we’ve explored the causes behind one of the most common eye complaints; dry eyes, and looked at how you can manage the condition and relieve symptoms.
Dry eye syndrome is likely to affect most of us at some point in our lives. The condition can vary in severity, cause and duration from person to person, depending on the cause.
If you’ve ever experienced gritty, achy or dry tired eyes, then you could have been suffering from dry eye syndrome.
According to the NHS, the condition is more common in women than it is men, and is more prevalent in those over the age of 40. However, it is possible to suffer from the condition at any point in your life.
In this blog we’ll explore what can cause this uncomfortable condition and what you can do to ease symptoms.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is just as it sounds. The condition is caused by either the eye not producing enough tears to stay comfortably lubricated, or the tears evaporating too quickly.
This then causes the eye to become sore and irritated.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome vary in severity from person to person. Symptoms usually affect both eyes and can include:
- Dry eyes in the morning
- Uncomfortable, sore, gritty, burning and dry tired eyes
- An achy feeling across the eyes
- Sometimes accompanied by red, bloodshot eyes, but not always
- Slight blurring of vision that clears after blinking
What causes dry eyes?
The causes of dry eyes vary. For some people dry eyes may be a temporary symptom, but others may suffer from chronic dry eyes. There are many different reasons why dry eyes can occur, and frustratingly, for some people, it may not always be possible to pinpoint the cause.
A few common causes of dry eyes include:
- Medications including antihistamines, antidepressants, beta blockers and diuretics
- The natural aging process
- Hormonal changes in women, including the menopause, pregnancy and using the contraceptive pill
- Underlying health conditions including blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and some immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Not completely closing the eyes whilst sleeping
- Looking at a computer screen for extended periods of time
Tips for managing dry eye symptoms
There is no known cure for dry eyes, but there are a plenty of steps that you can take to manage the condition and help to alleviate symptoms.
The most common treatment for dry eyes is eye drops. There are a variety of different types of eye drops available. If you’re not sure which drops are suitable then it may take a bit of trial and error to find those that work best for you.
Book a free eye test online at Tesco Opticians to speak to an optometrist about your symptoms and they will be able to recommend the best dry eye drops for you.
There are also a number of different eye gels and ointments that can be bought in-store to keep eyes moist during the night to help to combat uncomfortable dry eyes in the morning.
In-store at Tesco Opticians we now sell Systane eye drops, a range of drops that help to provide comfort for people who experience dry eyes. Please visit us in-store to speak to an expert about which are the best dry eye drops for you.
Self-help tips for how to treat dry eyes on a day-to-day basis
- Eat a balanced diet that includes image-3 and omega-7 fats
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air when conditions are very dry
- Using the information in our blog to setup your computer desk correctly to avoid eye strain
- Avoid dusty, smoky and overly dry environments where possible
- Avoid using air conditioning where possible
- Protect the eyes from wind by wearing sunglasses when outside
- Keep your eyes clean
- Remember to replace eye makeup before its use by date
- Make a conscious effort to blink more frequently and look away from the screen regularly when using a computer or watching TV
- Use a warm compress on the eyes daily and gently massage the eyelids
If all else fails
In very severe and chronic cases of dry eye syndrome speak to your optometrist about further dry eye treatment options available.
Suffering from dry and uncomfortable eyes? Book a free eye test online with Tesco Opticians to have the health of your eyes checked and receive further advice on how to manage symptoms of dry eye.
Find out more about National Eye Health Week and what you can do to get involved here.