Dry Eye – Causes and Treatments

Many people suffer from dry eyes. 

There are two types of dry eye – evaporative and aqueous deficient dry eye.

 Evaporative is mainly from environmental factors such as spending long spells of time working on the computer, driving with the air con on or studying/ watching TV. During these times of focus we forget to blink as much and so we are naturally drying out our eyes. Every time you blink you renew your tear film, when focusing weather it be on your favourite programme on TV or getting an assignment done for work we naturally blink about 5 times less, so our tear film isn’t being renewed and the eyes dry out over the course of the day. 

The other form of dry eye is aqueous deficient dry eye. This type of dry eye is harder to treat because it’s due to systemic causes – eg sjorgans syndrome. With this your eyes can’t produce enough tears to adequately lubricate the front surface of the eye and so it remains dry. This form is generally more irritating because once you then couple computer work etc. On Top of the already dry eye tendency you’ve got alot of irritation on your hands. 

In all cases of dry eye education and preparation is key. Keep track of when you notice the symptoms – is it early morning after waking or after watching TV before bed. Does it occur about 1-2 hours into starting work on your computer or perhaps after 30mins of driving. 

I recommend taking flaxseed oil daily and orally – not into the eye – just incase there is any confusion!  Once ingested flaxseed oil has benefits for all the extremities – not just the eyes. It’s amazing for the hair, skin and nails. It is known to improve the quality of the tear film and I’ve even had patients telling me their Vet recommended it for their dogs shiny coat! So it’s a wonder worker beauty supplement not just for the eyes. 

In addition I would advice having eye drops to hand for those times when you notice your eyes feeling gritty and stingy. Just top them up with one drop and a few good blinks of the eye and your back in business. You can also use gels but I would advice them at night time as they can blur your eyes for a few minutes. 

Next up is the famous 20-20-20 rule. So you take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and look 20 meters away ( or just as far away as you can in that given moment) by looking away you’re relaxing the eyes and tend to blink better so off you go. 

If your eyes are sore in the morning then I would recommend using the gel at night. This will lubricate the ocular surface as you sleep and your eyes will feel fresh and renewed by 5am or whenever you wake up. 

If after all this you are still suffering I would advice an appointment to investigate this problem further. A referral to an Ophthalmologist may be warranted for further treatment then. 

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