Dry, Sore, Irritated Eyes?
Dry eye disease is a chronic and typically progressive condition. Eyes can feel “gritty” and dry, but they can also become excessively watery as our eyes over compensate for the dryness by producing more tears. For some, it can be a chronic and persistent condition, which causes irritation on a daily basis. For others, it means occasional periods of discomfort that we often attribute to being tired, but don’t realise it’s a bout of DED. Identifying the problem is the first step to healthier and more comfortable eyes.’
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Environmental triggers, such as the weather, central heating and allergies, are some of the most common causes of dry eye disease. Similarly, wearing contact lenses, waking up dehydrated or long periods of an activity that requires visual concentration, like driving, reading or using computers, can all increase the risk of developing DED.
When your eyes struggle to produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly, your eyes can start to feel dry and uncomfortable. Although DED can affect people at any age, the risk of developing it increases with age, with an estimated 1 in 3 people over 65 experiencing the condition.
What Causes Dry Eye Disease?
- Ageing over 60’s are the most common group to suffer
- Hot, dry or windy climates – causes evaporation of tears
- Inflammatory diseases – e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis affecting the joints is associated with higher risk of dry eyes.
- Side effects from medications – e.g. The oral contraceptive pill
In most cases, dry eyes can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and sometimes sharper vision as well.