WHAT IS DRY EYE?
Dry eye is a chronic (long-term) condition. This means that once you have had it, it can come back even after it has cleared up. It often affects both eyes, but one eye may be worse than the other. There are several treatments for dry eye, and you can do some of these at home. A dry eye does not normally cause permanent problems with your sight, but in severe cases, it can become very painful and cause permanent damage to the front of your eye.
Who is at risk of dry eye?
Dry eye is more common in women and in people aged over 65. It is often just a symptom of getting older. This is because as you get older, your eyelids are not as effective at spreading your tears across your eyes when you blink. Also, the glands in your eyelids that produce the oily part of your tears become less effective as you get older. In some people these glands, which are called meibomian glands, can become blocked and the lids may become red and uncomfortable.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. WHAT IF I WEAR CONTACT LENSES?
A. Some people find that if they wear contact lenses their eyes may feel dry. This may be worse with some types of lenses than others. If you notice this, you may find that changing to a different type of contact lens or reducing the amount of time you wear your lenses will help you. Make sure you mention this when you go for your contact lens check-up so that your optometrist can suggest what to do about it.
Q. CAN IT BE CAUSED BY THE USAGE OF COMPUTERS?
A. Some people find that their eyes feel dry while they are looking at a computer screen (or afterwards). There is no evidence that looking at a computer screen does your eyes any harm, but it may make you blink less often. We recommend that when you use a computer, make sure to blink often and try to look away from the screen regularly, just for a few seconds, to give your eyes a rest.
Q. WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT DRY EYE?
A. Once your optometrist knows what is causing your dry eye, they can give you advice on how to manage it.