June 12, 2024

Dry Eye Syndrome/Disease

Dry eye syndrome (dry eye) is a common condition, symptoms can include irritation, discomfort, red eye, watery eye (which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes) or fluctuating vision. Dry eye occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears are of poor quality.

There are various way to manage or alleviate dry eye symptoms. For some it can be as simple as staying well-hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day is essential for overall eye health. The NZ Nutrition Foundation recommends 8-10 cups of fluid a day as a rough guide.

Studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation and improve tear production. Foods high in omega-3s, like fatty fish, walnuts and vegetables oils can be beneficial to dry eye sufferers.

Environmental factors can exacerbate dry eye, such as smoke, wind and dry air. Avoiding these whilst maintaining good eye hygiene can reduce dry eye symptoms. Keeping your eyelids clean and using warm compresses or a heated eye wheat bag, can help reduce inflammation and improve your tear quality. Also taking breaks from digital screens can help prevent eyestrain and dryness associated with prolonged screen time.

Your local pharmacy or optometrist will offer a variety of artificial tears, these moisten the eye and can provide soothing relief. Artificial tears can come in the form of an eye-drop, eye-gel or ointment. It is important not to touch the dropper with your fingers or eye and discard the lubricating drops following the time period stipulated on the bottle. Make sure it is a lubricant eye-drop you are using and not a formulation for other eye conditions.

There are clinical treatment options available for those who suffer from more severe dry eye. Your optometrist, ophthalmologist or healthcare professional can discuss them further with you after a full consultation.


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