Having dry eyes is a problem that is experienced when the eyes lack proper lubrication because the tears are insufficient. This may be because the tear has low level of oil so it evaporates quickly. In some cases, the tear glands are incapable of producing sufficient amount of moisture which should coat the eyeballs.
In most cases, dry eyes only cause discomfort. If this is not connected to any serious visual ailment, the regular eye drops or a few minutes of eye relaxation can already alleviate the problem. However, for people with serious gland problems or those with poor tear quality, there could be abrasion and irritation on the anterior tissues of the eyes.
Jim Kokkinakis Optometrist of The Eye Practice in Sydney CBD commonly sees dry eye patients. This condition can be caused by one or many factors. Jim Kokkinakis after many years of treating dry eyes follows a systematic algorithm to get to the bottom of this frustrating problem.
Who Usually Suffers from Dry Eyes?
Anyone of any age can experience having dry eyes since this is a problem that can be triggered by cold weather, extensive use of computer, long hours of watching television or lack of sleep. However, there are some people who have higher tendency of experiencing this irregularity because of the following reasons.
• People over 60 years of age or women who are starting to go through the menopausal stage
• Taking antihistamines regularly
• People who are on antidepressants
• Individuals with high blood pressure who take medicines for health maintenance
• Taking medications for Parkinson’s disease
• Exposure to cold temperature from the air-conditioner
• Individuals who live in a windy and dusty climate
• Extensive use of contact lenses
• Individuals who are diagnosed with lupus, ocular rosacea or rheumatoid arthritis
What are the Common Solutions for Dry Eyes?
If the problem can no longer be resolved by simple blinking or eye relaxation, then it is best to consult the doctor for proper medication. There are over-the-counter eye drops which claim to eliminate eye redness and alleviate the dryness but it is not recommended to use these frequently.
Here are some of the commonly prescribed treatments from optometrists.
• Artificial Tears. This is one of the basic prescriptions for this discomfort. This appears like the usual eye drops and can alleviate the redness, dryness and itchiness. It is preferred to use preservative free drops.
• Restasis or Cyclosporine. It is a step higher from the artificial tears. This triggers the tear glands to be more active so there will be sufficient lubrication for the eyes.
• Lacrisert. This is inserted in the eye and positioned inside the lower eyelid. It is very small but contains hydroxypropyl cellulose. This is effective in resolving the dryness because it constantly produces lubrication.
For individuals who wear contact lenses, medication for dry eyes should not be applied while the lenses are still on. It is important to have them removed first. If the dryness is caused by the lenses, consult your prescribing optometrist.
Self-medicating dry eyes is not a good idea because it may not be correct and could result to more serious ailment. Aside from that, there is also the tendency to develop either tolerance or dependency on vasoconstrictor or the eye whitening agent which is commonly found in some over the counter eye drops. When this happens, the long term effect would be increased frequency of eye redness, which can be extremely frustrating to alleviate.
If you suffer from Dry Eye problems please call Jim Kokkinakis Optometrist on (02) 9290 1899 to make an appointment for a comprehensive assessment. If you do not live in Sydney please call us as Jim Kokkinakis can refer you to a practitioner with a special interest in this condition closer to home.