Dry eyes

 

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Consequences of dry eyes range from subtle but constant eye irritation to significant inflammation and even scarring of the front surface of the eye.

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eyes can occur when you're unable to produce enough tears or the tears you are producing are of poor quality, resulting in rapid evaporation.

Common Causes of Dry Eye Include:

  • Ageing
  • Certain medical conditions including: diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid disorders, and vitamin A deficiency
  • Certain medications including: antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and medication for high blood pressure, acne, birth control, and Parkinson's disease
  • Laser eye surgery, though symptoms of dry eyes related to this procedure are usually temporary
  • Tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation

Dry Eye Symptoms:

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Blurred vision

Why Measure Tear Break-Up Time?

Your tears have an important role in keeping the surface of your eye smooth so it is clear to look through. If you have poor tear quality, your tear film breaks up quickly leaving irregular patches on your cornea (the front "window" of your eye). This can lead to fluctuating vision where you need to blink to make your vision clear again. Poor tear quality is often the reason your eyes water a lot, become irritated, or are constantly red.

At Canon Street Optometrists, we use multiple methods to analyse your tear surface quality as part of a dry eye evaluation.

Treatment Options for Dry Eye Syndrome

IPL - ImPulse Light

Many common treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome, such as artificial tears, hot compresses, and eyelid scrubs focus on temporarily relieving symptoms instead of treating the cause of the condition. IPL therapy is designed to address the Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) - the root cause of evaporative dry eye. By focusing treatment on MGD, your optometrist is able to address the underlying inflammatory condition to provide long-lasting symptomatic relief of your dry eyes. If you have tried various forms of treatment and medications for your dry, irritated eyes with little success or relief, then it would be worth consulting with one of our optometrists to see if IPL would be suitable for you.

Blephasteam

The blephasteam goggles deliver steam directly into the eyes, melting the waxy oil. Multiple studies have shown that to treat MGD, the glands need to be warmed up to a temperature in which the oil secretion blocking the glands melts from a solid to a liquid state. The ideal temperature is normally just about 40 degrees Celsius.

Punctal Plugs

A punctal plug, also known as a tear duct plug or lacrimal plug, is a small medical device that is inserted into the tear duct (puncta) of an eye to block the duct. These are especially efficient when your eyes physically don't produce a high enough volume of tears. The plugs help to hold what little tears you do produce in your eyes by preventing drainage. At Canon Street Optometrists, we would trial a collagen (dissolving) plug prior to using a permanent option. Artificial tears are usually still required after punctal plug insertion.

Tablets and Drops - Off the Shelf and Medicated

Eye lubricants come as eye drops or ointments. They are used to keep the eye moist and reduce symptoms of dry eyes such as burning, itching, and feeling as if something is in the eye. They also help to protect the eye from injury and infection. They are often called artificial tears. Two of our optometrists, Martina Fellmann and Sarah Lang, can prescribe suitable medicated eye drops for regular users. As dry eye has an inflammatory component, medicated eye drops can also be prescribed where appropriate.

Lid Hygiene

Gently scrubbing your eyelids removes the build-up of biofilm and excess bacteria from your lid margins. Your optometrist typically will recommend a daily regimen of warm compresses and lid scrubs to clean your eyelids and reduce the amount of bacteria and Demodex mites on your lids. Cleaning agents come as a pad or a foam - your optometrist will recommend which is best for your eye condition.

Sleep Goggles

Padded with comfortable memory foam, they naturally shelter your eyes from drafts, dust, and low humidity environments - which are all contributors to dry eye and related conditions. The goggle includes a set of removeable moisture pads which can be soaked in hot water prior to sleep. This aids in the creation of moist-heat, which is key to soothing tired, irritated eyes. For migraine or puffiness, the pads can be frozen to create effective cold therapies any time you need them.

The goggles also create total darkness, stimulating the pineal gland to release melatonin, a key promoter of deep sleep and relaxation. Whatever your dry eye problems, our travel and sleep kit can help, whether you're at home or on the road.

Wheat Bags

Heat is beneficial in dry eye treatment as it raises the temperature of the oil in the meibomian glands to liquid form. An eye mask wheat pack can be heated at home and then rested on closed eyes for 5 - 10 minutes. You then masssage the eyelids to express any blocked glands and clean the lids with a lid wipe or cotton bud. The eye pack (wheat bag) is designed to treat MGD, blepharitis, dry eye, or a stye (blocked gland). The eye pack can be cooled in the fridge or freezer to help relieve allergic eye conditions.

If you would like to find out more, contact us now!

Book an Appointment


Follow Us on Instagram