Dry eye occurs when our eyes don’t produce enough tears to retain moisture or when tear ducts do not function properly. This may cause eye irritation and, in some cases, can cause vision problems. Your eyes may also be more prone to bacterial infections or corneal scarring caused by the surface of your eyes becoming inflamed.
Dry eye syndrome is widespread, affecting about 54% of South Africans. The good news is that even if you suffer from dry eyes, there are several things you can do to ensure comfortable and healthy vision.
Dry Eye Symptoms
The first thing you can do is identify dry eye symptoms. The earlier you can identify it, the sooner you can receive dry eye treatment.
Stop for a moment and concentrate on your eyes. Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
- A scratchy sensation, as if something is in your eye
- Burning eyes
- Red eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Noticeably blurred vision
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Difficulty using eye contact lenses
- Difficulty driving at night
- Watery eyes – this is your body’s reflex response to the irritation caused by dry eyes
- Eye fatigue – feeling of strain, aching or heaviness on the eyes
Dry Eye Treatment
We treat Dry Eye Syndrome at Twenty 20 Vision with Blephasteam & Meibomian Gland Expression.
The most effective treatment is meibomian gland expression, where your eye specialist will use devices to unblock the meibomian gland. It’s important to stick with your treatment, so that you do not reverse blockage.
An innovative new medical device called Blephasteam (uncommon in South Africa) uses heat therapy to treat dry eye syndrome and several different eye conditions. Blephasteam is a goggle-like device that provides humidity to the eye and surrounding area. The goggles can be worn for varying lengths of time, depending on the patient’s needs.
Drops, sprays, creams or medications can be used to treat the symptoms of dry eye but DO NOT treat the cause. Treating symptoms offers temporary relief.
Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome:
Many factors that affect the healthy tear film might cause dry eyes. The tear film retains moisture on the eye’s surface, keeping your vision clear. However, a poor quality tear film can cause dry eye syndrome. Some of the most common causes and risk factors include:
- Age, particularly over 50
- Hormonal changes, pregnancy, using birth control pills, or menopause
- Autoimmune diseases
- Irritated eyelid glands or allergies
- Excessive screen time and device usage
- Dry environments
It can also be caused by decreased tear production and increased tear evaporation.
Causes Of Decreased Tear Production
Dry eye syndrome may develop when your body is unable to produce enough fluid. The medical term for this ailment is keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Here are the most common causes of reduced tear production:
- Various medical conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome and other autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Scleroderma or Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Certain pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medication and treatments for Parkinson’s, acne and birth control
- Corneal nerve desensitivity, sometimes caused by contact lenses or temporary nerve damage caused by laser eye surgery
Causes Of Increased Tear Evaporation
The small glands (meibomian glands) on the rims of your eyelids may become blocked. These glands produce the oily layer in your tears. If these glands are blocked your tears are more watery which leads to great evaporations. This is called meibomian gland dysfunction. The most common causes are:
- Medical skin conditions such as rosacea
- Reduced blinking – such as during an extended period of reading, working on the computer or driving
- Outward (ectropion) or inward (entropion) turning eyelids
- Allergic reactions
- Certain preservatives in eyedrops
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Dry climate conditions, smoke or wind
We Are Here To Help
Contact your local optometrist and find out if they have a dry eye treatment other than eye drops.
At Twenty 20 Vision, we pride ourselves on professionalism, efficiency and friendliness. Our team has a combined 32 years of experience in optometry. You can rest assured that before we make a diagnosis or prescription, we will consider your age, lifestyle, health, work and study conditions, always choosing the best solution for you.
Do you think you might be struggling with dry eye syndrome? We can help.
Book a Dry Eye Treatment TODAY.