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The Eye Needs To Be Continually Lubricated, Or Bathed With Tears. Normally, There Is Always A "Film" Of Tears On The Surface Of Your Eyes. But If Your Eyes Do Not Produce Enough Tears, The Surface Gets Irritated. This Condition Is Known As ‘Dry Eyes’.

Dry Eye Is A Collection Of Symptoms That Make Up An Eye Condition That Stems From An Imbalance In The Quantity Or Quality Of Tears Bathing The Eye. These Symptoms Include Dry, Red, Gritty, And Even Watery Eyes. Often, Dry Eye Sufferers Report The Feeling Of Something Foreign Within The Eye Or Eyestrain. Some People Do Not Produce Enough Tears To Keep The Eye Comfortable.

The Balance Of Tear Production And Tear Loss [Through Drainage And Evaporation] Maintains The Moisture Level In The Eyes. When This Balance Is Not Sustained, Dry Spots Appear On The Surface Of The Eye And Cause Irritation.

A Healthy Eye Constantly Produces Tears That Lubricate. Excessive Tears Occur When A Foreign Body Irritates The Eye Or When A Person Cries.


The Usual Symptoms Include : -

  1. Stinging Or Burning Eyes
  2. Scratchiness
  3. Stringy Mucus In Or Around The Eyes
  4. Eye Irritation From Smoke Or Wind
  5. Excess Tearing
    • Not Enough ‘Lubricating Tears’. When You Cry, Your Eyes Produce ‘Reflex Tears’. But Each Time You Blink, The Eye Produces ‘Lubricating Tears’ That Spread Over The Surface Of Your Eyes. These Tears Keep The Eyes Moist And Comfortable.
    • Burning Sensation Or Scratchy Sensation On The Surface Of The Eye.
    • Continual ‘Watering Eyes’ . This Does Not Relieve The Dryness, However, Because The Eyes Water With Reflex Tears, Not Lubricating Tears.

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Examining Your Eyes

Your Eye Doctor Looks At Your Eyes Through A Special Microscope Called A Slit Lamp. This Allows Him Or Her To Examine The Tear Film. Your Eye Doctor May Also Use Eyedrops With Dye To Help Show Any Dry Spots.

Causes Of Dry Eye

What Causes ‘ Dry Eyes’?

Many Things Can Cause Your Eyes To Become Dry. These Include : -

  • Ageing
  • Heaters And Air Conditioners
  • Wind, Smoke, Or Dry Weather
  • Allergies Such As Hay Fever
  • Medications
  • Eyelid Problems, Injuries To The Eye, Or Diseases Like Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dry Eye Has A Number Of Causes. It Happens Mostly As A Part Of The Natural Ageing Process But Can Also Be Caused By Problems With Blinking Or Problems With The Glands Which Produce The Tears. Some Drugs Can Cause Dry Eye, Like Antihistamines And Oral Contraceptives. Contact Lenses Carry An Increased Risk If You Have Dry Eye.

Sometimes Dry Eye Is Also A Symptom Of Other Conditions Affecting Other Parts Of The Body Particularly Arthritis Or A Condition Called Sjogrens Syndrome. Sjogrens Syndrome Is A Condition Where, As Well As Dry Eyes, People Can Also Have A Dry Mouth And A Dry Vagina. This Condition Can Also Involve A Type Of Arthritis.

Dry Eye Can Also Result From Unusual Facial Anatomy Or Irregularities In The Cornea, Resulting In Uneven Or Inadequate Tear Coverage Of The Eye. Some Patients Suffer From Dry Eye As A Result Of Medications Such As Antibiotics, Antihistamines, Diuretics, And Anti-Diarrheals, Which Can Dry Up The Mucous Membranes. Hormonal Changes Can Also Affect Secretions From The Tear Glands. Since These Medications Are Often Necessary, The Dry Eye Condition May Have To Be Tolerated Or Treated With "Artificial Tears."

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatments, Dry Eyes, Artificial Tears, Dry Eyes Treatment Hospitals

People With Dry Eye Are Often More Prone To The Toxic Side Effects Of Eye Medications, Including Artificial Tears. Special Preservative-Free Artificial Tears May Be Required.

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Diagnosing Dry Eye

We Are Able To Diagnose Dry Eye By Examining The Eyes. Sometimes Tests That Measure Tear Production May Be Necessary. One Test, Called The Schirmer Tear Test, Involves Placing Filter-Paper Strips Under The Lower Eyelids To Measure The Rate Of Tear Production Under Various Conditions

Firstly There Are A Number Of Tests Which The Doctor May Want To Do To Work Out How Dry Your Eyes Are. These Tests Can Give Them An Idea On How To Treat You. The Tests Check How Many Tears You Produce And Detect Any Areas On The Front Of Your Eye That Doesn't Have Enough Tears.

There Are Three Main Tests : -

Tear Film Break-Up Time

  • This Test Finds Out How Long After Blinking The Eye Starts To Dry Out.
  • The Doctor Uses Eye-Drops With A Special Dye In Them.
  • The Doctor Instils The Drops (Puts The Drops Into Your Eye), Will Then Ask You To Blink A Number Of Times, And Then To Stop And Keep Your Eyes Open Without Blinking.
  • The Doctor Then Uses A Coloured Light So That They Can See The Dye And Time The Period Between Your Last Blink And The Formation Of Dry Patches.
  • The Dry Patches Are Shown Up By The Dye.
  • If Your Eyes Start To Show These Patches Of Dryness Before Ten Seconds Then It Usually Means That There Is Some Evidence Of A Dry Eye.
  • The Dye Does Not Change The Colour Of Your Eye And Only Stays In Your Eye For A Short While.

Rose Bengal Staining

  • This Test Uses Another Dye.
  • The Dye Stains Damaged Tissue.
  • It Allows The Doctor To See Any Areas Of The Front Of The Eye Where There May Be Problems.

Schirmer Test

  • This Is A Test With Filter Paper Which May Be Performed To Test Tears. It Is Not Performed As Often As It Used To Be.


Early Signs Of Dry Eye Are : -
  • An Occasional Burning Sensation In The Eyes When In Areas Of Low Humidity Or High Pollution.
  • A Gritty Sensation In The Eyes, Which Is Persistent And Painful.
  • Decreased Tolerance Of Contact Lenses.
  • In Extreme Cases Of Dry Eye, Patients May Become Unusually Sensitive To Light, Experience Severe Eye Pain, Or Notice Diminished Vision.


  • Artificial Tears Are The Most Common Treatment For Dry Eyes.
  • If Artificial Tears Do Not Relieve Your Symptoms, Your Eye Doctor May Put In Plugs.
  • A Surgical Procedure Can Stop The Draining And Increase The Tear-Film.

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Artificial Tears

Artificial Tears Or Lubricating Eye-Drops Replace Your Natural Lubricating Tears. You Can Buy Most Lubricating Eye-Drops Without A Prescription. And You Can Use Them As Often As Needed. Lubricating Eye-Drops Are Not The Same As Eye- Drops To Relieve Redness Or Itching. Check With A Pharmacist To Be Sure You Buy The Right Drops.


Closing The Punctum With Plugs Can Help Keep The Tear-Film On Your Eye. The Plug Acts Like A Stopper In A Sink. It Allows Only A Small Amount Of Tears To Drain Out Of Your Eye. Your Eye Doctor May First Try Temporary Plugs That Dissolve In A Few Days.


If Artificial Tears Or Plugs Do Not Relieve Your Dry Eyes, Your Doctor May Do Minor Outpatient Surgery To Narrow Or Block The Openings To The Drainage Canals. If Your Dry Eyes Are Caused By Eyelid Problems, Your Eye Doctor May Recommend Other Kinds Of Surgery.

Tips For Comfort

  • Use A Humidifier To Make The Air Moist Inside Heated Rooms.
  • Wear Wrap-Around Glasses When You Are Outside.
  • Avoid Wearing Contact Lenses Or Eye Make-Up.
  • Avoid Smoke, Wind, Hair-Dryers, Air-Conditioners And Aerosols.

Depending On The Causes, Dry Eye Syndrome Can Be Treated As A Temporary Problem Or A Lifelong Disease Requiring Long-Term Treatment. Either Way, Tears Must Be Conserved Or Replaced In Order To Provide Relief.

Adding Tears

Artificial Tears Are Probably The Most Common Forms Of Treatment For Dry Eye Syndrome. These Eye Drops Are Similar To Your Own Tears. They Lubricate The Eyes And Help Maintain Moisture. Preservative-Free Eye Drops Are Available If You Are Sensitive To The Preservatives In Artificial Tears.

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Conserving The Tears With Punctal Occlusion

In Cases Of Persistent Dry Eye Symptoms, Permanent, Reversible Closure Of The Tear Duct Or Punctal Occlusion May Be The Best Solution. Punctal Occlusion Allows You To Retain Your Own, Natural Tears Without The Bother Or Expense Of Constantly Replacing The Tear Film With Artificial Tears.

Tears Drain Out Of The Eye Through A Small Channel Into The Nose. We May Close These Channels Either Temporarily Or Permanently. The Closure Conserves Your Own Tears And Makes Artificial Tears Last Longer.

A Person With Dry Eye Should Avoid Anything That May Cause Dryness, Such As An Overly Warm Room, Hair Dryers, Wind Or A Direct Fan / Air Conditioner Draft. Smoking Is Especially Bothersome.

Some People With Dry Eye Complain Of "Scratchy Eyes" When They Wake Up. Using An Artificial Tear Ointment At Bedtime Can Treat This Symptom.

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