Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. This leads to the eyes drying out and becoming inflamed (red and swollen) and irritated.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome usually affect both eyes and often include:
- feelings of dryness, grittiness or soreness that get worse throughout the day
- red eyes
- eyelids that stick together when you wake up
- temporarily blurred vision, which usually improves when you blink
Dry eye syndrome can occur when the complex tear production process is disrupted in some way. There are many different reasons why this can happen, although a single identifiable cause is not often found.
Common causes include:
- being in a hot or windy climate
- wearing contact lenses
- certain underlying medical conditions, such as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- side effects of certain medications
- hormonal changes in women
Although the condition can affect people of any age, your chances of developing dry eye syndrome increase as you get older. It’s estimated that up to one in every three people over the age of 65 experiences problems with dry eyes.
Dry eye syndrome is not usually a serious condition.
R. D. McFarlane and Nicol’s opticians have a range of treatments available to help relieve the symptoms.
As well as medical treatments, there are some things you can do yourself to help prevent dry eye syndrome or reduce the symptoms.
- keeping your eyes and eyelids clean and protecting them from dusty, smoky, windy and dry environments
- using your computer or laptop correctly to avoid eye strain
- using a humidifier to moisten the air
- eating a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fats