How to treat dry eyes

29th February 2024
Woman with a red, dry eye

Dry eyes is a condition that frequently goes undiagnosed, so it is important to ensure you understand the symptoms and when to seek specialist care. 

What is dry eye disease? 

Dry eye disease is a common condition characterised by insufficient lubrication of the eyes due to various factors. This deficiency may arise from poor tear quality or inadequate tear production. This leads to inflammation and potential damage to the surface of the eye. 

While dry eye disease is typically not deemed severe, some symptoms may indicate the need for professional attention. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, we strongly advise scheduling an appointment with your local Optometrist. Booking an appointment promptly can help address any underlying issues and ensure the continued health of your eyes.

Symptoms of dry eye disease

Some of the symptoms of dry eye disease are as follows:

  1. An itchy or burning sensation in your eyes 
  2. Sensitivity to light 
  3. Red eyes
  4. The feeling of having something in your eyes
  5. Eyes that are more watery than usual
  6. Blurred vision
  7. Contact lens discomfort
  8. Tired eyes

What causes dry eyes?

Dry eye syndrome can stem from various factors beyond external irritants. It occurs when the eyes fail to produce an adequate volume of tears or when the quality of tears is compromised. Contributing factors may include hormonal fluctuations, ageing, inflammation of the eyelid glands, or adverse effects of medication which may not be noticeable straight away. 

If you find that you are experiencing frequent eye infections, then this may be an indication of dry eyes. 

How to treat the condition

Home remedies 

Several home remedies can help alleviate dry eyes, promoting comfort and eye health. These include:

  1. Eyelid compresses: A simple method involves applying a warm compress to the eyelids for a maximum of 10 minutes.
  2. Limit Contact Lens Wear: Give your eyes a break from contact lenses periodically by switching to glasses. This allows your eyes to rest and rejuvenate.
  3. Follow the 20/20/20 Rule: When spending extended periods in front of screens or engaging in activities that require intense focus, such as reading, adhere to the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something approximately 20 feet away. This practice helps reduce eye strain and dryness.
  4. Environmental Awareness: Be mindful of environmental triggers that can exacerbate dry eyes, such as strong winds, cigarette smoke, and allergens. When possible, mitigate exposure to these triggers, and consider wearing sunglasses outdoors to provide added protection.

Incorporating these simple strategies into your daily routine can contribute to better eye comfort and overall well-being. 

Further remedies

Various treatment options can be recommended by your clinician to manage dry eye syndrome, ranging from pharmaceutical interventions to minimally invasive procedures:

  1. Pharmacological Solutions: Preservative-free dry eye drops represent a cornerstone of dry eye treatment. Options include drops/ gels and ointments.
  2. Eyelid gland treatments clean and express the glands along your eyelids responsible for tear production. 
  3. Punctal Occlusion: This procedure involves the insertion of a plug into the puncta, the tear drains located in the eyelids towards the nose. Temporary plugs are utilised for trial purposes and dissolve quickly, whereas silicone plugs offer a permanent solution, remaining in place as needed.
  4. Therapeutic Contact Lenses: Specialised contact lenses lubricate and protect the eye surface, alleviating discomfort during blinking and other movements. Options include soft bandage lenses and rigid scleral lenses, with the most suitable type determined through consultation with a healthcare professional.

Dry eye clinic 

At Dipple & Conway, our dry eye clinic offers a comprehensive tear film assessment. This evaluation employs cutting-edge technology, incorporating the Tearlab Osmolarity Test for assisting in diagnosis. With just a tiny amount of tears extracted from each eye, the Tearlab provides prompt, unbiased results, offering valuable insights into the tear film’s health and stability to help diagnose dry eyes. 

Failure to address dry eye disease promptly may lead to complications such as eye inflammation, corneal scarring, and, in severe cases, vision loss. Seeking timely treatment is essential to prevent these potential health risks.

In conclusion, addressing dry eye syndrome requires understanding its symptoms, potential causes, and available treatment options. While often overlooked, this condition can significantly impact one’s comfort and eye health if left untreated. Recognising symptoms such as itching, burning, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision is crucial for timely intervention.

At Dipple & Conway, our dry eye clinic offers advanced diagnostic tools to assess tear film health accurately. Beyond professional evaluation, incorporating simple home remedies such as eyelid hygiene and environmental awareness can provide relief for mild cases. However, persistent symptoms warrant medical attention. If you would like to attend one of our practices in Norwich, Swaffham or Diss to see one of our expert Optometrists, please book an appointment or call your local practice. 

Posted by Dipple Conway

"I’m very impressed by the friendly and helpful attitude of the staff at Dipple and Conway, and by the very competent and professional service my optometrist provided. It really is a pleasure to ones eyes tested there."

Mike Lindsay
Optician Awards Finalist Investor in People The College of Optometrists British Contact Lens Association Association of Dispensing Opticians Best Family Business 2020

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