optician /orthokeratology  Galway

phone: 091 586 748 / 091 586 749

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DRY EYE  DISEASE

This is the most common disorder seen in ophthalmic practice with over a third of patients suffering from dry eye symptoms of varying degrees.
Dry eye is a disorder of the tear film due to reduced tear production or more commonly excessive tear evaporation.
The underlying feature is a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
Having dry eyes is a little like driving your car with very little oil in the engine, it's not ideal and often can damage the engine.
Likewise the exposed eye surface becomes unhealthy and more prone to infection.

Dry eyes 1) may look red, tired, inflamed and old.
                2)may feel sore, gritty, itchy, burny, scratchy,tired,have a foreign body sensation and sometimes be watery.
                3) can get transient blurred / fuzzy vision as the abnormal tears "smear" across the eyes.
                4) are more prone to infections.

CAUSES OF DRY EYES:
This condition is multi factorial but the following list are the most common causes of dry eyes.

excessive use of  your eyes where you are staring/ concentrating on something eg VDU users, drivers, TV watching, reading, smart phones, nintendos and the like,


* Females seem to experience the problem more, especially menopausal women, women taking hormonal medicines(eg the pill,HRT, eltroxin, etc), pregnancy, breast feeding.


*Health Conditions like Diabetes,Rheumatoid Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases have a definite link with this condition.


*Age- There is definitely a correlation between the older eye and the drier eye.


*Medications- a lot of medication we take can contribute to a tear problem. 

As we have referred to above, there are many causes and links to dry eyes so speaking to the eye care professional and having your eyes examined will help pinpoint the cause of your dry eyes and help find an individual remedy to your symptoms.

AVOIDANCE OF PROVOKING FACTORS
Air conditioning, central heating where the room is too warm, open fires, watching TV for too long, using a computer or smart phone excessively without a break, dry climates, plane journeys, long car journeys, alcohol, caffeine and reduced blinking.
Avoiding the above would have a dramatic effect in reducing your symptoms, however this is not always feasible and realistic.

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS:
Treatment choice depends on the severity and cause of the dry eyes and after a thorough examination, we recommend a specific regime directed for your needs.

Artificial Tears: if you are not producing enough lubrication for your eyes , you'll have to artificially put some in instead.

These come in many forms over the counter and some are much more effective than other. Preservative free drops are essential if you are going to be using them a lot initially. They can be used as often as you feel necessary, ideally they should be instilled when the eyes are uncomfortable and especially before VDU use, or a long car journey or before sitting down to read a book.
We have eye drops available here and our eye care practitioner can advise on which one will best serve your needs.
Artificial eye drops come in the form of drops, gels or ointment.
The drops are normally used during the day and the gel or ointment used at night to prevent the eyes dehydrating too much during the night. The gel/ ointments have the disadvantage of transient blurring the vision.

Warm compresses: Blocked meibomian glands, which are situated along the eye lids, are a major factor when dealing with dry eyes.

The role of these glands is too prevent tear evaporation, to prevent the tears streaming down the cheeks and lastly to act as a physiological "wind screen wash" where dust & debris is removed to maintain clear vision.
Hense it's essential to keep these glands unblocked. This is where the Eyebag is required.
This is a microwaveable eye mask, full of flaxseeds,that when placed warm on the eyes, for a  min of 10 mins,on a daily basis,gradually unlocks the glands by melting the hardened oils and keeps them clear if used regularly.
Initially the eye bag should be used on a daily basis, but once signs/ symptoms improve its use can be reduced to alternate days. 

Lid hygiene: it's essential that the eyelids remain clear of any debris, bacteria or foreign bodies. So, we recommend lid care wipes to be used every morning. 
These moist sterile wipes can be used very quickly on a daily basis and they help greatly in maintaining a healthy equilibrium on the ocular lids.

 

BLEPHEX TREATMENT: Similar to an exfoliator. The hand held device with its high speed rotating device, mechanically debrides (cleans) the lid margins and removes any crusting, dandruff and inflammation. This spring cleaning breaks the vicious cycle of lid inflammation by removing the inflammatory exotoxin-laden biofilm. The process takes approx. 15 mins. Phone our practice for more information on this procedure. 

OTHER FACTORS:

  • Recent studies have shown that your omega 3 and 6 fatty acid intake improves dry eye symptoms as well as other systemic benefits. One excellent example of an Omega 3 supplement is Higher Nature Omega 3, and they contain 1000 mgs of Omega 3. They can be purchased in all good health shops.
  • Increasing water intake during the day is also another important factor to be adopted.
  • Dry eyes causes secondary Glare and light sensitivity so wrap-around sunglasses outdoors is a must and utilizing no-glare lenses in your spectacles.
  • PUNCTAL PLUGS- are an option, if all the above advice still doesn’t relieve symptoms. These are painlessly inserted into the draining duct in the eye and they help reduce tear drainage out of the eye. They are successful in about 70% of cases of dry eyed patients. Your practitioner can advise you about them.
 
In summary, you don't need to suffer in silence. There are lots of potential remedies for your symptoms of dry eyes. Book yourself in for an eye examination. Be nice to your eyes - you've only got one pair!!
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