The Dry Eye Zone

Rebecca's Blog

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News: Ulster Herald on dry eye

If we think dry eye news coverage is inadequate in the US... well, we're actually doing pretty well compared to many other places. I was very pleased on behalf of our Dry Eye Talk friends in northern Ireland to see this piece:


Not a dry eye in the house

(sigh, every journalist seems to think that is clever)

It's rather, er, barebones, but hey, any coverage is better than no coverage.


Dry eye syndrome is an extremely common condition in which symptoms can range from subtle irritation to inflammation of the tissues of the eyes.

Tears are essential for good eye health since they wash out dust and debris, keep the eye moist and neutralise bacteria that colonise the eye.

DRY EYE SYNDROME

In dry eye syndrome, the eye doesn't produce enough tears, or they evaporate off the eye surface too quickly.

The resulting effect can be a gritty, burning or itchy sensation. Occasionally, people complain of excessive watering of the eyes when the tissues try to overcompensate for the lack of moisture.

CAUSES

There are many causes of dry eye syndrome. Many medications, such as antihistamines or oral contraceptives , can cause dry eyes as a side effect, as can general health complaints such as rheumatoid arthritis and rosacea.

Eyes become dry as a natural part of the ageing process, especially during the menopause.

Symptoms can be exacerbated by environments such as central heating, air conditioning , or using the computer for a long period of time.

TREATMENT

Dry eyes per se cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed. Artificial tears can be used to lubricate the ocular surface, while air humidifiers can add moisture to air that's been heated or conditioned. Silicone plugs can be used to block lacrimal (tear) ducts and retain your natural tears on your eye.

Essential fatty acids can reduce dry eye problems, cold water fish, and flax seed oil may also be beneficial.

If contact lenses are the cause of dry eyes, your contact lens practitioner may switch you to a different lens material.

If you are considering LASIK , dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery.
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