04 Jul Dry Eye Syndrome: the cause & symptoms
Symptoms can include:
- Itchy, dry eyes
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Foreign body sensation
- Excessive tearing
- Blurry vision
Causes can include:
- Hormonal changes – Ageing, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can alter hormones
- Medications – Many medications decrease tear production (see side effects)
- Medical conditions — Systemic diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, may lead to dry eyes.
- Contact lenses – Contact lenses tend to absorb the tear film.
- Environment – Dry, windy climates, air-conditioning and cigarette smoke
- Chemical eye burns
- As previously discussed in one of my articles Digital eyestrain can also lead to dry eyes. It can cause blurred vision and other symptoms such as burning, stinging eyes. The normal blink rate is about 15 times per minute. Studies show that when we work on the computer, our blink rate tends to drop to about 3-5 times per minute.
Diagnosis of Dry Eye Syndrome:
Your Optometrist may perform one or more of the following tests to determine if you are suffering from dry eye syndrome.
- The Schirmer tear test -This tells the clinician how many tears your tear glands are producing.
- Corneal staining -Special Fluorescein (yellow dye) eye drops are placed in the eye. Staining patterns can reveal damage to the eye surface.
- Tear break-up time (TBUT) — After placing dye in the eyes, the Optometrist uses a slit lamp to determine how long it takes dry spots to develop. (stability of your tears)
Treatment can include:
There are several treatment options are available to help manage its symptoms but unfortunately there is no cure for dry eye syndrome.
- Artificial tears eye drops eg. Celluvisvc
- Gels and Ointments – Gels and ointments are similar to artificial tears but they last for much longer. e.g. Vitapos gel
- Eye-lid wipes can be used to increase lid hygiene and remove bacteria building up on the lids and lashes e.g. Supranettes
- Omega 3 Supplements e.g. Theratears
- Punctal plugs – This can allow your own natural tears to lubricate the surface longer.
- Corticosteriods – Some types of dry eye conditions are caused by inflammation. Steroids act to reduce the inflammation. (Prescribed by your doctor only)
- Eye Washes – e.g. Optrex eye wash
Did you know that you are entitled to a FREE eye examination every two years or every year if you have a change in your vision under the medical card scheme and employers PRSI scheme?
Call us today to discuss this service: 071 91 69090