Shopping Basket
0 items - 0.00
We accept:Secure Trading
FREE UK DELIVERY
PRICE MATCH ON ALL PRODUCTS
HASSLE FREE RETURNS
Dry Eyes
Dry Eyes

ABOUT DRY EYE

Dry eye is an eye condition caused by a problem with tears. Dry eye can make your eye feel dry, scratchy, irritated and uncomfortable. It often affects both eyes but sometimes one eye is affected more than the other. It can make you feel you have something in your eye, like an eyelash or a piece of grit, even when there is nothing there. Dry eye can make your vision slightly blurry, though usually only for short periods of time. The blurriness usually gets better on its own or when you blink.

Dry eye doesn't usually cause long term problems with your sight but it is important to let someone know if your eyes are feeling dry, gritty and sore. Your GP may be able to help or they may recommend that you have your eyes examined either by an optometrist (optician) or an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).

In most cases, dry eye just results in mild discomfort but in more severe cases it can become very painful and the dryness can cause permanent damage to the front of the eye. The severity of the problems depend very much on the cause of the dry eye. Once you have dry eye you tend to always be prone to it, but it can be treated. Usually there are times when it is better than others. Medically, dry eye is known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

Causes

Dry eye is caused by a problem with your tears. When you blink you leave a thin layer, called the tear film, over the front of your eye. The tear film keeps the front of your eye healthy and it also helps the eye focus properly, giving you clear vision. The tear film is a complicated structure made up of three layers. If you don't produce enough tears, if your tears aren't of the right quality or your tears aren't spread across the front of your eye properly then you may develop dry eye.

Dry eye is usually a natural symptom of getting older. As you get older your eyelids are less effective at spreading the tears each time you blink. The various glands in your eye that produce the three layers of the tear film become less effective, so the quality of your tear film is affected as you get older.

Your tear film may also be affected by:

  • some drugs, like antihistamines or oral contraceptives
  • contact lenses, which can make you more at risk; you should follow the advice for wearing and looking after them very carefully
  • other health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren's syndrome, which may cause you to have dry eye and a dry mouth or vagina
  • surgery or an accident which affects or scars your eye, although this usually improves once the eye has healed
  • an infection or inflammation of any of the glands around your eye, or an infection of the eye lash roots (called blepharitis). Sometimes getting rid of the infection or inflammation can help to improve your dry eye.

The tear film

Every time you blink you create the tear film across the front of your eye. Dry eye happens if these tears aren't spread properly or if the tear film is of poor quality. If there are tiny patches of dryness in the tear film then your eye feels uncomfortable and each time you blink the patch will be irritated.

The layer of tears closest to your eye is called the mucin layer. It forms a layer on the cornea, the clear part of the front of the eye. The mucin layer is like a foundation for the other tear layers and helps the watery layer of tears remain in the right shape and in the right place.

The middle layer of tears is called the aqueous or watery layer. This watery layer of tears provides moisture to the eye and oxygen and other nutrients to the cornea, the clear front of the eye. These watery tears also help wash away anything that gets into the eye such as dirt. They make sure that the front of the eye is very smooth

DRY EYE

THE TEAR FILM

Every time you blink you create the tear film across the front of your eye. Dry eye happens if these tears aren't spread properly or if the tear film is of poor quality. If there are tiny patches of dryness in the tear film then your eye feels uncomfortable and each time you blink the patch will be irritated.

The layer of tears closest to your eye is called the mucin layer. It forms a layer on the cornea, the clear part of the front of the eye. The mucin layer is like a foundation for the other tear layers and helps the watery layer of tears remain in the right shape and in the right place.

The middle layer of tears is called the aqueous or watery layer. This watery layer of tears provides moisture to the eye and oxygen and other nutrients to the cornea, the clear front of the eye. These watery tears also help wash away anything that gets into the eye such as dirt. They make sure that the front of the eye is very smooth, which helps your eye to focus properly. This layer is produced by small glands underneath the upper eye lid called lacrimal glands. These lacrimal glands are named after the Latin word for tear, lacrima.

The top layer of tears furthest from the eye is an oily layer of tears called the lipid layer. The lipid layer seals in the moisture of the aqueous layer so that it stays on the front of the eye for as long as it needs to. The lipid layer stops the watery tears from evaporating too quickly. Evaporation happens as liquids are lost to the air around them. This oily top layer also helps to make sure that the tears are spread over the eye in the right way.

All these layers of tears are produced by small glands around the eye and eye lids. Each time you blink the three layers of tears should be spread right across the front of your eye. Anything that affects the composition of the tear film, for example if you produce too little or too much of one of the layers, will stop the tear film working properly and potentially cause dry eye.

The tears in your eye are drained through the tear ducts. Tear ducts are drainage holes that connect the eye lids to the inside of your nose. This is why when you cry, sometimes your nose runs too.

Reflex tearing

As well as the normal production of the tears you can produce a lot of tears in one go through reflex tearing. A reflex is the body's automatic response to certain situations and is something you have no control over. Emotion, peeling onions or an injury, such as poking your eye, will cause the body to produce lots of extra aqueous tears. These tears are designed to wash away anything that may be in your eye. No one is really sure why emotion causes extra tears. These extra watery tears drain away quickly and do little to soothe a dry eye. This over-watering of the eye won't damage your eye, though it may make your sight blurry while it's happening.

Watery eyes

Some people are diagnosed with dry eye even though their eye appears to be watering all the time. In fact some people find that their dry eye streams with tears and feels very wet most of the time. This may be because there is a problem with a different tear layer that irritates your eye and your eye tries to deal with this by producing more watery tears.

These watery tears don't help to correct the dryness in your eye. Watery eyes can cause short periods of blurred vision. People with a watery eye may be prescribed eye drops to help with the problem in the other layers of tears, as this may prevent their eyes from watering too much.

SHOULD YOU REQUIRE ANY FURTHER ASSISTANCE FROM ONE OUR QUALIFIED OPTOMETRISTS, PLEASE CALL US ON 0115 9244244 ( WE ARE REGISTERED WITH THE GENERAL OPTICAL COUNCIL)