Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition that develops when your eyes fail to produce enough tears or your tears dry out too quickly. It can be an uncomfortable and irritating condition, but luckily, there is treatment available.
Dry eye symptoms can range from mild to severe; they are often associated with eyes feeling dry or sore and looking red. You might experience a burning sensation in your eyes and temporary blurred vision which improves when you blink. In the morning, your eyelids may also stick together.
If the eyes become irritated enough, watering eyes are another symptom that can occur, to relieve some of the soreness you are experiencing.
There are several different causes of dry eye syndrome, but fundamentally, it occurs when there is a disruption with your eyes’ tear production. Some causes of this are from wearing contact lenses, living in a hot climate, medication side effects, underlying health conditions and hormonal changes (women). Dry eyes are more common for women than men, and the chances of developing symptoms increase as you age; one in three people over 65 have issues with dry eyes.
The treatment for dry eye syndrome involves either treating the underlying health condition that is causing you to have dry eyes or most commonly:
There are several different types of lubricating eye drops available to treat milder dry eye symptoms. Sometimes referred to as ‘artificial tears’, they can come in drop, gel or ointment form dependent on which is preferable to you and your requirements.
However, you must book an appointment with your ophthalmologist to determine how severe your symptoms of dry eye syndrome are, as some drops contain large amounts of preservatives that can be damaging if used too frequently. In cases where you need to use drops frequently throughout the day, you may need to use preservative-free drops.
Surgery performed to treat dry eyes include: inserting punctual plugs to seal your eyes’ tear ducts and stop your tears from draining away or, on rare occasions, salivary gland autotransplantation. This is a procedure that involves the removal of saliva glands from your bottom lip and inserting them near your eyes under your skin. In essence, your saliva then becomes a substitute for tears.
If you’re suffering from dry eyes and think you could benefit from treatment, call Marian Blake Opticians today. We’ll offer expert advice as to what treatment would work best for you to relieve your symptoms.