Dry eyes are a common eye condition that can affect people of any age. It can occur when the eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. As a result, eyes are left feeling dry, irritated, and uncomfortable.
Dry eyes symptoms
The symptoms of dry eyes vary from person to person in severity, but can include:
- dry, irritated, and uncomfortable eyes
- a burning, gritty sensation
- the feeling of a foreign object in your eye
- sore, red eyes
- temporarily blurred vision, which usually improves when you blink
- watery eyes caused by excessive tear production
You may also notice a mucous discharge, particularly when you wake up in the morning, which can cause your eyelids to stick together.
The condition tends to affect both eyes, but sometimes one eye may be more affected than the other.
There is also a more severe form of dry eyes, known as dry eye syndrome. This is treated by specific medicines under the supervision of doctors. If you think you may have dry eye syndrome, please contact your doctor for advice.
What causes dry eyes?
Many factors can lead to dry eyes. These can be broken down into two primary causes: decreased tear production and evaporative loss.
Decreased tear production
- getting older, where eyes become less effective at creating tears
- gland obstruction or deficiency
- poor reflexes
- side effects of medications, such as antihistamines, beta blockers or diuretics
Illnesses and diseases:
- Sjogrens disease
- side effects of conditions, such as diabetes
- low blink rate
- gland dysfunction
- hormonal changes – for example, the menopause or pregnancy
- compromised eyelid dynamics (opening, closing, shape and so on)
- tobacco smoke, wind and heat
- fans and air conditioning
- allergic reactions (pollen, pet dander and dust mites)
- prolonged wear of contact lenses
- extended use of computer and mobile screens
- Vitamin A deficiency
As a result, it can be difficult to narrow down the exact cause of dry eyes – but if you recognise any of the above factors in yourself, it may be worth talking to your doctor.
How tears work
Usually when we blink, tear film spreads across the cornea and forms a protective coat. This makes the surface of the eye smooth and clear, keeping our eyes lubricated and clearing any debris.
- Lipid layer
When we blink, the eye’s lipid layer is compressed between the lipid margins. Its main purpose is to keep the eye smooth and prevent tears evaporating. When tears evaporate too quickly, causing dry eyes, it is due to the tears having less oil.
- Aqueous layer
The aqueous layer flushes and lubricates the corneal surface, acting as a buffer to maintain the pH of the eye. It maintains hydration by smoothing irregularities of the corneal surface and forming a high quality optical surface.
- Mucin layer
The mucin layer allows the tears to be adhered to the eye. Mucin converts the water-repellent corneal surface to a hydrophilic surface, allowing the tears to completely cover the cornea.
Who is at risk?
Dry eyes can affect anyone, but women tend to be affected more often than men.
The condition also becomes more common as you get older, with as many as a third of people over 65 estimated to be affected – but symptoms are becoming more frequent in younger people too. A 2015 survey revealed 76% of eye care providers reported an increase in dry eye symptoms in 18 to 34-year-old patients compared to ten years before.
Treating dry eyes
If your condition is severe and having a serious impact on your quality of life, there are treatments available which can alter your tear production. This is something you should discuss with your doctor.
Most of the time, dry eyes can be well controlled with the use of readily available eye care treatments aimed at moisturising and re-lubricating the eye. Vizulize has a specialised range of products tailored to treating dry eyes and relieving the associated symptoms of irritation, grittiness and discomfort:
- Vizulize Dry Eye Drops – contains Sodium Hyaluronate (0.1%), known to reduce tear film break-up and reduce symptoms of grittiness and burning
- Vizulize Intensive Dry Eye Drops – contains a higher concentrate of Sodium Hyaluronate (0.3%) to more intensively moisturise and hydrate
- Vizulize Dry Eye Mist – contains Sodium Hyaluronate and soothing chamomile in a fine mist format that can be sprayed onto closed eyes, ideal for those who find eye drops difficult or inconvenient to use
All Vizulize Dry Eye products are pH balanced to the eye’s tear fluid, so as not to sting on application.
Preventing dry eyes
Making changes to your lifestyle can help prevent dry eyes, or minimise the intensity of your symptoms. These include:
- attending regular eye check-ups to detect changes in your eye health and vision
- practising the 20/20/20 rule – for every 20 minutes at the computer or TV, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- shielding eyes from extreme weather and UV rays with 100% UV protective eyeglasses
- wearing the right accessories – goggles avoid chlorine irritating the eyes while swimming and safety glasses protect your eyes during DIY or gardening
- taking a break from wearing glasses and contact lenses
- getting enough sleep – doing so allows the eyes to rest and reduce moisture loss
- eating foods rich in omega 3, zinc and vitamin C
- reducing computer and mobile screen use
- drinking lots of fluids
- using a humidifier in the home to add moisture to the air
- cleaning eyelids daily
Following these guidelines can have a positive impact on the health of your eyes and help them feel more comfortable.
Our most intensive formula for relieving and soothing dry and sensitive eyes.
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