Have you been spending too much time staring at the computer screen waiting for your TradeMe auction to close and now your eyes are feeling dryness, grittiness or burning.
You may have dry eye.
What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye occurs when your natural tears are unable to keep your eyes well lubricated and moist. It can be due to your eyes not producing enough tears or the oil producing glands in your eyelids may be blocked or infected.
If left untreated, severe dry eye can potentially damage your eyes and affect your vision.
Causes of Dry Eye
Medications such as hormone replacement therapy, anti-histamines and diuretics
Hormonal changes during pregnancy, lactation and menopause
Other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, sjogrens syndrome, allergies
Contact lens wear
Environment e.g outdoors, wind, air conditioning Inflammation
Reduced blinking and eye strain from staring at the computer or tv screen
Refractive (lasik) surgery
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Irritation, sore, tired eyes
Grittiness, foreign body sensation
Dry Eye Assessment
At Visique Frith and Laird we do comprehensive dry-eye examinations, assessing the quality, quantity and flow of your tears. From this we are able to work out a personalised plan of action to help you manage and maintain the comfort of your eyes.
We also have a corneal topographer which is used to measure the curvature of your eyes. The topographer can also record a video to measure the stability and breakup of your tears.
Treatment of Dry Eye
Treating dry eye can be as simple as using over-the-counter eye drops of which there are a huge range of options catered to individual needs. Often though, there are also preventative steps that can be taken, including simple diet or hygiene changes that can go a long way to alleviating symptoms.
Other treatment options may include prescription eye drops, warm compresses with a wheat bag, supplements, punctal plugs and even prescription oral medication.
Artificial tears are the most common treatment for dry eye. These eyes drops provide a soothing and moisturising effect for your eyes. Artificial tears are available over-the-counter, without a prescription and comes in either multi-dose bottles or single-use non-preserved vials. For moderate to severe dry eye, thicker tear supplements such as gels and ointments can provide more relief but as they are more viscous your vision may become blurry temporarily.
These eyedrops come in a bottle and can be used for an extended period (as specified by the manufacturer). The eyedrops also contain a preservative to ensure they do not become contaminated with bacteria after opening.
Artificial tears are also available preservative free which makes them suitable for people with sensitive eyes. As they do not contain a preservative, once opened the vials must be discarded after 1 day.
Our eyelids contain glands (meibomian glands) which produce the oily layer of our tears. These oil glands become blocked (meibomian gland dysfunction) and prevent normal secretion of the oils causing dry eye. Using a small, warm wheat bag placed over the eyes for 5 minutes each day can help unblock these glands.
One of the most common causes of dry eye is inflammation. Omega-3 found in oily fish, flax-seed oil and some nuts help with dry eyes by providing an anti-inflammatory effect. A high dose of 1200mg of omega-3 daily can improve your dry eye symptoms.
We recommend high quality, pharmaceutical grade omega-3.
Your puncta are small ducts in the inner corners of your eyelids and help drain your tears away from your eyes. Small collagen plugs are inserted into your puncta to prevent the drainage of your tears.
Prescription Medications- eyedrops and tablets
Those with serious dry eye may require prescription medication (such as steroidal and non-steroidal eyedrops) or oral medication to decrease the inflammation of the eyes.
Therapeutic optometrists may prescribe medication to manage your dry eye just like your G.P.
At Frith and Laird, we also carry an extensive range of different products from which our friendly optometrist will be happy to make recommendations.