The doctor says I have dry eye (What is Dry Eye Syndrome?)
Let us try and understand it…
Our eyes normally have a layer of tears that acts as a lubricant to keep it comfortable and seeing well.
This tear layer has 3 parts: the watery part, the oily part, and the slippery part.
The water comes from glands hidden deeply around the eye. The oil comes from glands behind the eyelashes on the eyelids. The slippery part comes from the lining of the eye.
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition where 1 or 2 of these parts are missing or out of order. There are different types of Dry eye syndrome which your ophthalmologist can diagnose.
How will I know if I have it?
Symptoms include a gritty feeling, itching, burning, blurry vision and even tearing. Your eyes can feel dry. It is worse when we use air-conditioners and heaters. They dry out the air and so dry out our eyes. Do you suffer with a “tired”, red eyes after reading or watching on your device? Do you wake up with painful or sandy eyes?
Why did I get it?
Our eyes get drier as we age. Certain medical conditions like diabetes and cholesterol can give us dry eye.
Certain medications can give us dry eye. Most times these medications are necessary and should not be stopped.
Blinking our eyelids help to spread the tears on the eyeball and pump out the oil needed on the eye. Dry eye is more common during long hours spent looking at digital screens… this is because we blink less.
It is worse when we use air-conditioners and heaters. They dry out the air and so dry out our eyes.
Dehydration can be a big factor in dry eye.
The doctor says I have BLEPHARITIS!! That’s sound scary.
Blepharitis is when the oil glands are out of order from infection or blockage. This causes the type of dry eye that lacks the oil part of the tear film. It is often an on-going problem that needs long term control. But new treatments are highly effective.
How can I have dry eye if my eyes are watery. That doesn’t make sense?
The oil in your eye stabilises normal tears. If you are producing a lot of water in your eye and not enough oil, the film of tears in your eye is unstable and breaks up into a teardrop, falls out and leaves the eye burning and irritable.
What can I do to treat or prevent my dry eye?
Don’t ignore it. The redness you see is inflammation, which starts a cycle of worsening dry eye syndrome.
Most times one can treat dry eye with the correct eye drops. Do not use eye-whitening drops.
Warm compresses are advised. Apply a warm heat pack for five minutes to your closed eyelids every evening. Make sure you get your medical conditions under control like arthritis and diabetes. Make sure you are drinking enough water on a regular basis.
We have a new dry eye treatment called E-Eye Intense Pulsed light therapy (IPL). It is safe and affordable. You do not need anaesthetic, hospitalization, or injections. You walk in, it is done in the office and you walk out. You can drive straight after also. Eighty percent of patients find relief with the treatment, and the effect may last between 6 months to 3 years or even longer and is easily repeated.
Treatment consists of 3 sessions of 10 minutes each in 2 to 4-week intervals. Do you have blepharitis? Try this if medical treatment has failed you or if you want to try and get off your drops.