dry eyesHaving 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.

7 Comments

  • by S.Draper Posted August 27, 2014 2:16 pm

    Hello, I have been using Lacriserts for a number of years. Do you know if there is any way to get them besides directly from Valeant Pharmaceuticals in Canada? I’m based in Perth.
    Thanks

    • by admin Posted October 1, 2014 11:39 pm

      Hi Sorry for the late reply.
      Lacriserts are difficult and expensive to get in Australia. I remember at least two or three years ago, I tried to source them and decided they were too expensive. I would be very interested in your perspective of how good they are and what you paid?
      Dr Jim Kokkinakis

      • by S.Draper Posted October 20, 2014 4:29 am

        Hi Jim,

        I used to be able to get them on a normal script, then on a TGA script and now I have to go directly to the supplier (Valeant). They are incredibly expensive $185.15 for a month supply (and dealing with Valeant is a challenge in itself, previous suppliers such as Aton were far better) however they make such a difference to my lifestyle that they are worth it to me. I have dry eyes due Sjogrens Syndrome, no tears at all, and Lacriserts make my life so much more comfortable. I supplement them with Thera-tears and use a Vita-pos lubricant nocte.

        • by Lois Posted November 6, 2016 7:53 am

          Hi S Draper

          I’ve sjogrens & also live in Perth, diagnosed with SS in 1991.

          Are you still using Lacriserts & able to obtain them?
          I gather an optometrist would help learn how to use the Lacriserts.

          I’ve begun trialing scleral contact lenses. Haven’t got the left eye contact sitting right yet. Not sure sclerals will work for me.

          This past week I began consuming Sea Buckthorn Berry oil. The high omega 7 content is said to help SS dryness. I came across SB oil in an article with Dr Oz & Venus Williams the tennis player who has SS.

          I’d be grateful for any helpful info as I doubt I can continue my office work much longer with my dry eyes.
          I had mild lymphoma removed from my left parotid gland Oct 2015.
          The office environment is not good for my mouth or eyes as you’d know.

          Hoping to hear from you soon.

          • by S.Draper Posted December 10, 2016 6:10 pm

            Hi Lois,
            I’m still using Lacriserts. I get them from the Canadian pharmaceutical company called Valeant. You send them an email to order. Canada.CustomerService@Valeant.com
            I doubt an optometrist could help teach you because they would most likely be unaware of them but they come with insertion instructions.
            They’re pretty expensive so if I were you maybe only buy 1-2boxes at first in case they aren’t suitable for you.
            Hope this helps 🙂

  • by Leela Nair Posted July 30, 2014 1:14 am

    I have recently had multifocals iols inserted by Dr. Peter Martin but since having the iols, my eyes constantly tear and are sore by end of day. I find that using sun glasses to watch TV has helped. I have been using systane eye drops but I still seem to feel eye strain by midday plus I always seem to have foreign matter in my eyes due, I think to the dry eye. I find glare hard to take, it was bad prior to my cataract surgery, but now it is even worse. I have had YAG laser treatment in my right eye to help blurry vision but it does not seem to have helped much. What should I do?

    • by admin Posted July 30, 2014 4:50 am

      Hi Leela
      I suspect you have a residual inflammation. My mother had the same problem after her cataract surgery. What you require is a comprehensive dry eye assessment. I am assuming you are from Sydney as there is a Dr Peter Martin in Sydney.
      Our dry eye clinic is the most advanced in the country, offering every diagnostic and therapeutic intervention available. Sometimes normal lubricant eye drops are useless. In fact the average person that finds us on the internet will make sure that we are just not going to prescribe drops as in moderate to severe cases they very rarely work. I hope this helps. Do not hesitate to ask any further questions. While you are at it – look up LipiFlow and IPL for dry eye management.
      Regards
      Dr Jim Kokkinakis
      The Eye Practice
      http://www.theeyepractice.com.au

      here is a link to some dry eye articles that we have written:
      http://www.theeyepractice.com.au/optometrist-sydney/tag/Dry_Eyes/

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