Dry eye is a common eye condition that affects people of all ages, and increases in severity as we age. Dryness can cause a burning or itching sensation in your eyes and can be extremely uncomfortable. While dryness is often exacerbated by windy weather conditions and bright light, the condition itself is more accurately explained as an abnormality in the tear film.
Why are tears important?
Tears have a more important job than we often realise. They are busy providing our eyes with natural nourishment and protection against irritants in the air. Did you know that tears are made up of water, oils and mucus to help with moisture, lubrication and the spreading of tears across our eyes? We experience dry eyes when our tear glands can’t produce tears quickly enough to maintain the protective coating that our eyes require to stay hydrated.
Causes of dry eye
- Environmental factors, such as dry windy weather, direct sunlight, smog or dust, and air conditioning or heating, and cigarette smoke
- The ageing process causes tear production to naturally decrease
- Our increased usage of digital devices means we are blinking less, and tears are not being spread across the surface of our eyes often enough
- Hormonal changes, contraceptive pills and other medications such as anti-histamines, diuretics and anti-anxiety pills – these can also trigger eye allergies.
Managing dry eye
Our optometrists have the most advanced diagnostic tools at their disposal to help them assess the health of your eyes. The type of treatment depends on the severity of your condition and is best assessed by one of our experienced optometrists. However tear supplements can help with mild dry eye and while they don’t offer a cure, they can give you some relief by effectively replacing tears.
Speak to one of our experienced optometrists to book a thorough 360° eye consultation today.