How does dry eye syndrome affect my vision?
Dry eye syndrome is one of the UK’s most common eye conditions. It is caused by excessive tearing, usually created by a low quality tear film that lubricates your eyes.
The tear film consists of three layers – the mucin layer coating the cornea, the aqueous layer providing moisture and oxygen to the cornea, and the lipid layer, an oily film that prevents evaporation. These layers are made in a number of glands around the eye and ensure that your eyes are moist.
Dry eye syndrome can have a number of causes. The main cause for the syndrome is the natural ageing process. Our bodies produce less oil as we grow older and this prevents the lipid layer of the tear film from sealing in the aqueous layer. The tear film then evaporates leaving dry areas on the cornea that can be rather uncomfortable.
Contact lenses, hot, dry or windy climates, high altitudes, air-conditioning and cigarette smoke can add to the problem. Even reading a book or working on a computer can affect the tear film so it is important that you take regular breaks to keep your vision comfortable.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome can include:
• Excessive tearing
• Blurred vision
• Discomfort after reading
• Foreign body sensations
A fully qualified optometrist will be able to test your eyes for signs of dry eye. They will measure the production, evaporation rate and quality of your tear film; however, because everyone is different, treatment may vary.
Many people find that artificial tears help to relieve the discomfort caused by the syndrome. These are watery and can alleviate the symptoms. Punctal plugs can also be used if artificial tears are unsuccessful. They trap the tears on the eye, ensuring that your eyes are moist at all times.
Simple lifestyle changes can reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. Wearing sunglasses while you’re out and about, and using air filters to keep the air in your home clean can help. Fish oils from salmon, sardines and herring are full of omega-3 acids that will also help to improve the symptoms of dry eye.
For more information or to book your eye test, simply call our friendly and experienced team at Eye Emporium on 0800 020 9202 or by emailing