Dry Eyes – Causes and Solutions

We specialise in identifying and helping to treat Dry Eye Syndrome

What causes Dry Eyes?

The healthy eye stays comfortable thanks to a tear layer that rests on the front surface of the eye and protects the sensitive skin from direct exposure to wind and debris. This layer is formed of a mix of water and oils and is being continually drained and replenished via the tear ducts.

Dry Eyes can occur when tear production is insufficient, when tear drainage is excessive or when the make-up of the tears is poor, allowing them to evaporate off the surface of the eye faster than they can be replenished. Despite the name, in some cases the result is excessively watering eyes as the tear-ducts over-react to try and keep the eye moist.

There are many factors that can cause these problems for the eyes including medication, natural hormonal changes, climactic conditions (including air conditioning), using a computer screen for long periods (when you will blink less, so lubricating the eyes less), or simply ageing. It is not always possible, or necessary, to identify the cause of the dry eye, more important is to establish which factor in the eye’s natural lubrication process is not working and to tackle this directly.

Book a Dry Eye Consultation

There are a variety of short and long term solutions available for Dry Eye Syndrome with different options available, depending on which part of the eye’s natural lubrication process is not working properly. To help us identify this and give you the best advice for tackling your Dry Eyes, we offer a dedicated Dry Eye Consultation.

During the appointment we will test your tear duct drainage, including tear volume assessment, carry out a detailed anterior eye check and formulate a treatment plan, this is followed by a complimentary follow-up appointment, usually after three months, to assess any changes.

Since Dry Eye Syndrome has a variety of causes, we will carry out a full advanced eye examination at the same time to check the rest of the eye for problems (this will not be required if we have seen you for a test within the last three months). For pricing for the Dry Eye Assessment and the Advanced Eye Examination, see our Fees Page.

To book an appointment, telephone the practices, pop in, or request an appointment online. Please specify that you would like to book in for a Dry Eye Consultation when you contact us.

Dry Eye Treatment – In Practice

During your Dry Eye Consultation, the optometrist might determine the cause of the issue to be a blockage within the tear duct. This can stop the natural tears from draining off the eye and lead to excessive watering as the tear glands continue to produce new tears. A syringing of the tear ducts can in some cases dislodge or break-down the blockage, if this is not possible, the testing involved allows us to confirm that a blockage is present and we can refer you on to have this surgically removed if you wish.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we might discover that your tear-ducts are too efficient in removing your tears from the eyes, draining them quicker than you can produce them, leading to the Dry Eye sensations. In this case, we can fit Punctal Plugs into the tear-ducts. These tiny pieces, smaller than a grain of rice, will restrict the tear ducts and keep your natural tears on your eyes. A temporary plug is normally fitted first, this will break-down after a few months, allowing us to assess the effectiveness. If successful, we can fit permanent plugs at a follow-up appointment.

All of these procedures can be carried out by one of your trusted optometrists, in practice, at a date and time that suit you, no doctor or hospital referrals are required. See our Fees Page for pricing details.