In-depth assessment and treatment for tired, dry, gritty eyes using the most effective technology.
Over the last ten years, there has been a huge increase in the number of people suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjuncitivitis sicca) is a disorder of the tear film due to tear deficiency or excessive evaporation, which causes damage to the ocular surface. Symptoms include: Feelings of dryness, grittiness, soreness, tired eyes which get worse throughout the day, sensitivity to light and blurred vision.
At the Dry Eye Centre, we believe that the increase in Dry Eye Syndrome is linked to our modern lifestyle.
Until recently we believed that it was caused by a lack of production of the water in the tears hence the mainstay of treatment was to replace or supplement the tears with lubricating drops. However, clinical evidence showed that the use of drops relieves the symptoms only temporarily. This is not surprising as the drops are drained away quite quickly into the back of the throat just like normal tears.
This meant Dry Eye sufferers had to use the drops very often throughout the day to achieve any relief. We now think that most dry eyes are caused by a poor tear quality rather than a lack of production of the watery part of the tears.
The majority of us now use a computer, mobile phone or tablet on a regular basis. When we perform these tasks we concentrate very hard and we tend to stare at the screen. This reduces the amount of blinking from around 10 – 20 times a minute to, in some cases, only once in five minutes. In many cases, when using the computer the blinks that we make are not full ones.
Blinking is important as it distributes the tears over the eye lubricating the surface and also providing oxygen and nutrients to the eye. If we are not blinking enough we do not lubricate the eye leading to the symptoms, such as burning, that we associate with dry eyes. As there is not enough lubrication there is also an increase in friction between the lid and the eye and this can make the symptoms even worse.
Blinking also squeezes glands on eyelids called meibomian glands. If you don’t blink enough, these glands can not release the oily layer of the tears, which reduces tear quality and leads to dry eyes. It can also cause blockages to these glands, which can not become unblocked without treatment; we call this meibomian gland dysfunction.
At the Dry Eye Centre, we will assess your blinking and give you advice on how to improve it. We will also tell you if you have meibomian gland dysfunction and help you to get the glands working again.