To use the oft-repeated Game of Thrones catchphrase, ‘Winter is Coming’! At The Eye Scene, this can only mean one thing for our optometrists: a jump in the number of clients complaining about dry eyes. If you feel a burning, itchy sensation or feel that something gritty is in your eye, you could be suffering from dry eyes. The lower humidity levels inside your home or office due to the heater being cranked up and the windows being closed only exacerbate the problem.
Dry eye syndrome is characterised by insufficient or poor quality tears and is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the front surface of the eye, the cornea. We all have a film of tears that covers the cornea to keep it moist while the meibomian glands in our eyelids secrete oils to prevent the evaporation of these tears. Dry eyes result if there is an insufficient supply of tears or if the tears evaporate too quickly. Symptoms include scratchy or gritty eyes, the sensation of having a foreign object in the eye, watery eyes, tired eyes and sometimes even vision fluctuation or reduction.
Dry eye can affect anyone of any age, but is more common as we get older because our lacrimal glands produce less tears. Some medications can also trigger dry eye such as antihistamines or blood pressure medications. Dry eye is also quite common in post-menopausal women and people with arthritis. Your environment (exposure to dust, smoke, and other pollutants), eye surgery, excessive contact lens use and looking at electronic gadgets too long without blinking are other known causes that exacerbate dry eye syndrome.
While there is no cure, treatments like eye drops, gels or ointments (otherwise known as artificial tears), aim to relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. Switching on a humidifier can add moisture back into the air (especially if your heater is on), which may help to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. Also make a conscious effort to blink more often which, in turn, secretes more tears.
Give us a call on 9362 9944 to see what treatment we can offer you.