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Managing Dry Eye

Did you know that even when you’re feeling happy and joyful, your eyes are full of tears? However, if you experience dry eye, it means that you produce insufficient tears or the tears evaporate too quickly.

Without tears, your eyes won’t be adequately lubricated. While it is a common condition, dry eye is certainly unpleasant. It can affect one or both eyes and if left untreated can potentially result in something more chronic.

The tear film comprises two layers - an oily and water/mucin layer. The oil layer makes up the exterior layer of the tear film. It helps to keep the surface smooth and prevents tears from drying up too quickly.

The water/mucin layer is made up of two components: the water comes from the lacrimal glands in the eyelids and makes up what we see as tears, this washes away particles that do not belong in the eyes. The mucin component is the inner layer of the tear film, this helps to keep the eye’s surface moist by ensuring that water spreads over the eye’s surface evenly.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a result of the imbalance of tear production and drainage. It can also be due to a hormone imbalance, autoimmune disease, allergies or inflamed eyelid glands. Inflammation along the eyelids and skin disorders such rosacea can cause the meibomian glands to become blocked, increasing the likelihood of dry eye.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

Not everyone experiences dry eye the same way. However, if you experience the below symptoms, you may have dry eye.

Gritty or sore eyes
Watery eyes
Increased light sensitivity
Difficulty with night driving
Trouble with contacts
Blurred vision

Ways to manage Dry Eye

One of the most important things to do if you suffer from dry eye is to speak to your local pharmacy for health advice unique to you. If needed your pharmacist can also support by referring you to an optometrist or GP if required.

Use Artificial Tears

Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops used to relieve dryness and irritation of the ocular surface. Systane® Complete Preservative-Free Lubricant Eye Drops contain nano-lipid technology that provides an all-in-one relief for all types of irritated, tired, dry eyes for up to 8 hours.

Not only do Systane® Complete Preservative-Free Lubricant Eye Drops replenish the tear film and protect the ocular surface, it also works on all layers of the tear film.

Use steroid eye drops or cream

If artificial tears do not improve your condition, your doctor may prescribe you some steroid eye drops or steroid cream, as it helps reduce inflammation. However, this is usually a short-term solution.

Do warm compresses

Other treatments include warm compresses, which softens the hardened meibum and thus unclogs the meibomian glands. The challenge with warm compresses is that not many people are able to perform this treatment right. We recommend seeking a pharmacist or other health professional’s advice for tips on how to do warm compresses.

Take breaks from digital screens

Did you know that we tend to blink less when we’re on our computers and mobile devices? Infrequent blinking can lead to lower levels of tear production, which ultimately results in dry eye. The 20-20-20 rule may help alleviate discomfort. Every 20 minutes of computer use, simply look at an object 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential no matter what! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and up your omega-3 and vitamin A intake, as they play a role in healthy eyesight. Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish, seeds and nuts, while vitamin A can be found in leafy greens, carrots, fish oils, eggs and much more. Drinking enough water throughout the day is also important to help support a stable tear film. Without enough water, your tear glands may not be able to produce sufficient tears to provide lubrication for your eyes. So be sure to keep a water bottle at arm’s length at all times!


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