The Connection Between Anxiety and Dry Eyes Disease

 

Dry eye disease is a common disease that can impair the quality of one’s life significantly. Its prevalence multiplies with advancing age, stress, anxiety. The economic burden of the disease on both a patient and society can increase. The diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease are often difficult due to the discordance between symptoms and signs of the disease.

In this article, we will look at the connection between a mental state of anxiety and dry eye disease.

 

Anxiety and Dry Eyes

Anxiety and Dry Eyes

Connection Between Anxiety and Dry Eyes Disease

Dry eye disease is seen as one of the most common ophthalmologic disorders. It is connected or associated with symptoms like ocular discomfort, pain, dryness and foreign body sensation, which can impair the quality of life for millions of people globally. In terms of economic burden, dry eye disease has become a significant public health problem.

Below are some of the findings that exist between anxiety and dry eyes disease

 

  • Researchers have revealed that there is a connection between anxiety and dry eye disease in patients with normal or mildly reduced tear production. It also revealed that subjects with dry eyes disease showed an increased risk of experiencing severe psychological anxiety.
  • The scores of the psychological questionnaires, which include Shortened Health Anxiety Inventory, Shortened Beck Depression Inventory, and Beck Anxiety Inventory, had a significant correlation with the ocular surface disease index score, whereas there is no significant relationship between dry eye signs and symptoms.
  • The anxiety usually affects the development of dry eye symptoms and is one of the causes of the inconsistency between symptoms and signs of dry eyes disease. Dry eyes disease is associated with higher symptom scores of anxiety, as well as with an increased prevalence of the psychiatric conditions. Among the dry eye disease patients, the severity and prevalence of anxiety are high among patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Regarding the connection between dry eyes disease and anxiety, several mechanisms play a significant role. A clear finding shows that anxiety status usually influences the connection between dry eyes disease and Val66Met single-nucleotide polymorphism in a brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
  • Anxiety also lowers the threshold for perception of pain or discomfort caused by dry eyes disease by affecting cognitive modulation of attention.
  • Somatization, a frequently reported condition in anxiety, usually lead to predispose in the development of dry eye disease. Conversely, dry eye disease, including chronic discomfort and visual impairment also worsen anxiety mood.
  • Anxiety lowers the threshold for perception of pain or discomfort caused by dry eyes disease by affecting cognitive modulation of attention.

 

Relaxation

Dry Eyes Relaxation Meditation

Dry Eyes Relaxation Meditation

The first step is to seek professional advice from your gp or healthcare practitioner if you feel that your eye problems are stress-related, probably the most obvious step to take is to try to relax. Think about your symptoms as warning signs—your body is trying to respond to a threat, and it’s hurting you. The best thing to do is to try to calm down your brain’s response to danger.

You probably are familiar with what can de-stresses you better than anyone else. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Taking a warm relaxing bath and focusing on merely letting go and relaxing
  • Meditation. Proven to de-stress and relax oneself.
  • Taking slow, deep rejuvenating breaths, sending the air into your belly.
  • Write your feelings into a diary to keep track of your stress levels.
  • Exercise has been proven to pump the body, then allowing it to relax afterwards.

As always, you’ll feel better if you make sure to get enough sleep and eat well. Even though you’re busy, taking at least a few minutes to relax, consciously will help your body calm down.

If you feel stressed or worried most of the time, you may need to make more significant changes. You may be trying to do too much in too little time and need to cut back. Alternatively, you may have an anxiety disorder, which is highly treatable. If you always feel like you’re on edge, it might be time to speak with a doctor or counsellor to make sure that you’re emotionally and physically healthy.

When you have found your own way to deal with stress, you may find that your eyes should revert to a healthy state. Stress-related eye issues should be temporary and relatively easy to fix. If you, however, continue to have problems, make sure to visit your specialist eye doctor. Our Specialist Ophthalmologist here at The Dry Eye Clinic is ready to assist you so that your eyes are as comfortable as possible. To Book a session with us click this link




Putting pressure on MGD

At the annual conference of the American Academy of Optometry back in 2015, I came across a novel

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction treatment that uses heat. It also treats associated Dry Eye problems. As a typical sufferer myself (figure 1), I was impressed by the system and found it both easy to use (figure 2) and, as clearly demonstrated by use of a thermal imaging device immediately after treatment (figure 3), effective in delivering a controlled heat source with pressure to the affected area for a set period of time. At the time, I was not aware of the unit being available in the UK. Since then, the Heated Eye Pad (from Digital Heat) has received a CE marking and is currently in use at a number of dry eye specialist clinics, such the Manchester Dry Eyes Clinic, who kindly loaned me one for trial (figure 4).

Dry Eyes Clinic

BACKGROUND TO COMPRESSES


The 2011 definition of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) by the TFOS MGD Workshop highlighted the importance of termi-nal duct obstruction in MGD,1 which has ‘encouraged the use of treatments to remove obstruction from the terminal duct and ductal system of the meibomian glands’. The group suggested there is a significant role for conventional treatments in the management of MGD, including ocular lubricants, lid hygiene and warm compresses.

There has been much excitement in the profession about the recent release of the 2017 TFOS DEWS II Management and Therapy Report which includes an excellent up to date review of the literature regarding management options for dry eye and MGD, including the use of warm compresses, led by Professor Lyndon Jones, a name familiar to Optician readers.2

Previous to this, studies have shown that warm, moist com-press therapy applied to the skin of the closed eyelids increases tear film lipid layer thickness for subjects with MGD by more than 80%, five minutes after initiating treatment and an additional 20% after 15 minutes of treatment.3

Regardless of methodology, the therapeutic goals of heat therapy are as follows:4

  • To heat the meibomian gland contents to facilitate their secretion into the tear film.
  • To alleviate meibomian gland obstruction.
  • To increase vascular flow to the tissue surrounding the meibomian glands

Although there is no single melting point for solidified meibomian secretion,5 because the chemistry and viscosity of the solidified secretion itself are variable,6 it has been stated that solidified secretions from severely obstructed glands have a considerably higher melting point than those from apparently normal unobstructed glands.7 Thus, it can be assumed that higher temperatures, provided safety is maintained, are superior for the treatment of more severely obstructed glands.
TFOS DEWS II confirms that ‘The ability for heat from a warm compress to soften or liquefy the secretions in obstructed glands in the case of MGD is supported by Level 2 and 3 evidence’.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Treatment
However, despite having heard the contrary at recent lectures on the circuit, the report goes on ‘The temperature and time required for melting obstructive material within the meibomian gland excretory duct has not been definitively established. Preliminary evidence from multiple studies has reported a range of melting points (32 to 45° C) for the contents of the meibomian glands, reflecting in part that meibum is a highly complex lipid mixture.8 Jones et al conclude: ‘Level 2 and 3 evidence suggests that heating the individual meibomian gland to a temperature of ≥40°C is likely to be required for optimal warm compress treatment.’ This 40°C recommendation refers to the temperature of the palpebral conjunctiva and the gland, not the temperature on the contact surface of the treatment device or the temperature of the external skin of the eyelids.
Dry Eyes Clinic
Dry Eyes Clinic

MAINTAINING THE HEAT


There are a range of products available for the management of MGD by heat and pressure application. These tend to fall into one of three categories;

  • Microwave – the product is heated first in a microwave and then applied over the closed eyes
  • Chemical – these tend to be disposable, pressure-activated warming units where the heat is derived from a mixing of con-tained chemicals when used
  • Electrical – the unit is powered by an external electrical sup-ply during use

The Heated Eye Pad belongs to the final category, with a USB and adaptor input (figure 5). Unlike most microwave and chemi-cal devices, the heat filaments apply the required ≥40°C temperature to the lid area only rather than the whole orbital opening. Also, because of the adjustable nature of the frames (adjusted for pupillary distance and length of side as with a trial frame), the pressure to the lids may be tempered as to not cause undue pressure. Such pressure has been found with other devices and can cause post-treatment visual blur that some patients dis-like enough to discontinue with their treatment.

Indeed, patient compliance with all of these compress products is the bane of our lives. Jones et al point out that compliance is a major factor in determining MGD treatment success. The Heated Eye Pads are easy to use and, importantly in my view, show some immediate benefit in terms of ocular comfort improvement (where discomfort has been previously noted). Furthermore, most US practices adopt a fee structure where patients invest intheir treatments – people are more likely to continue with some-thing they have paid for.

 

Before each use, the frame needs careful adjustment to suit the patient. The heating elements are cleaned with an alcohol swab. After each treatment, the patient should be encouraged to under-take their usual lid hygiene procedure  I recommended a proprietary lid wipe.

Dry Eyes Clinic

SUCCESS


In terms of easy of use and providing controllable pressure and maintenance of adequate temperature for the desired five to 10 minutes treatment, this new product ticks all the boxes. It could easily be incorporated into practice schedules and, indeed as is often the case in the US, be sold to carefully coached patients for home use as directed. Definitely worth a look.

REFERENCES

  • Jones, L et al. TFOS DEWS II Management and Therapy Report. The Ocular Surface. 2017; 15; 575-628
  • Nelson JD, Shimazaki J, Benitez-del-Castillo JM, Craig JP, McCulley JP, Den S, et al. The international workshop on mei-bomian gland dysfunction: report of the definition and classification subcommittee. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011;52(4):1930e7.
  • Olson MC, Korb DR, Greiner JV. Increase in Tear Film Lipid Layer Thickness Following Treatment with Warm Compresses in Patients with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Eye & Contact 29(2): 96–99, 2003.
  • Blackie CA, Solomon JD, Greiner JV, et al. Inner eyelid surface temperature as a function of warm compress methodology. Optom Vis Sci. 2008;85:675–683.
  • Mitra M, Menon GJ, Casini A, et al. Tear film lipid layer thick-ness and ocular comfort after meibomian therapy via latent heat with a novel device in normal subjects. Eye. 2005;19:657–660.
  • Bron AJ, Tiffany JM, Gouveia SM, et al. Functional aspects of the tear film lipid layer. Exp Eye Res. 2004;78:347–360.
  • Ong BL, Larke JR. Meibomian gland dysfunction: some clini-cal, biochemical and physical observations. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 1990;10:144–148.
  • Bron AJ, Tiffany JM. The contribution of meibomian disease to dry eye. The Ocular Surface. 2004;2(2):149-65.

Thanks to opticianonline.net for the article.




Blepharitis and Dry Eyes?

Blepharitis refers to the inflammation of the eyelid and is divided into 2 categories:

Front or anterior part of the lid.

What causes Blepharitis is often due to infection of the lid margin and leads to deposits on the eyelashes. Bacteria secrete irritating substances which get into the eye resulting in an uncomfortable eye. There is also a condition called Seborrheic Blepharitis that is a form of eczema.

The main course of treatment for this entity is lid hygiene. The lid should be cleaned with commercially available lid wipes, such as Occusoft Plus. Occasionally, there is a need for use of topical antibiotics to treat associated infection.

Back or posterior part of the lid.

Blepharitis is the old name for Meibomian Gland Dyfunction (MGD) which in turn can be divided into numerous categories:

  • Hypersecretary
  • Obstructive (non obvious)
  • MGDInspissated MGD
  • Atrophy

The treatment often includes the use of LipiFlow as well as other modalities to supplement LipiFlow treatment. Essentially they are all one and the same. When the Meibomian Gland gets obstructed there is a deficiency in the oil layer leading to evaporative dry eye. This is 79% of all dry eye.

Other modalities include:-

1. Doxycycline or Minocycline antibiotics.

2. Omega 3 supplements especially the high dose supplements which are particularly useful for reducing associated inflammation.

3. Steroid drops may be added, but need to be done under the supervision of a health care professional.




How Lipiflow can provide you with a more beneficial treatment – Part 1

Last week was an exciting week for The Dry Eye Clinic; after patiently waiting for all the building work to be completed, we finally moved into our brand new premises. The new spacious treatment rooms allow us to continue giving the best service to all of  our patients, but in a more relaxing atmosphere than was previously possible.

For those of you who suffer from chronic dry eyes and are looking for a dry eyes remedy, you should consider the Lipiflow treatment that we offer. I would like to explain over the next few blogs how Lipiflow can provide you with a more beneficial treatment than those you may have previously tried at home. So this month we are going to be focussing on the ‘heat’ aspect of the treatment.

You may wonder why heat is required in the first place? Let’s start with a brief explanation of the reason many people experience problems.

The tear film is made up of three layers.  The outer lipid layer is extremely important in preventing the underlying ‘watery’ layer from evaporating. Any compromise to this outer layer can lead to an unstable tear film and symptoms of dry eyes.

The lipid layer is produced by glands in the upper and lower eyelids. These glands frequently  become blocked, resulting in a reduced amount of lipid being released. The effect of this can be a thin, insufficient lipid layer, causing the tears to evaporate too quickly resulting in symptoms of burning, itching and the sensation of grittiness – symptoms many of you unfortunately experience on a daily basis.

Heat therapy can help to melt the contents of the gland to alleviate the blockage and allow a better flow of lipid to be produced. Many of you may have tried some of the heat therapies available for home use eg., hot flannels, eye bags, heated bean bags etc. These certainly can be of help, but there are some limitations to their effectiveness. Firstly, they do not maintain their temperature and cool down too quickly to have any sustained effect. Secondly, the heat can only be applied to the outer eyelid and therefore isn’t targeting the correct area where the glands lie. In addition the eyelid tissue itself, has insulating properties further reducing the effect of the treatment. Now fortunately, with the development of Lipiflow these problems have been addressed. The system applies constant, controlled, directional heat to the inner surface of the eyelid while protecting the rest of the eye with an insulated shield, thus providing precise,thermally controlled, safe heat to the targeted area. This, in addition to the application of pressure, facilitates the release of secretion from the obstructed gland helping to improve the lipid layer and relieve the symptoms of dry eyes.

We have been seeing some excellent results at our clinic, I feel privileged to have this state-of-the-art equipment at my disposal, to provide the most up-to-date and effective treatment available to our patients.




What can I do if I have Dry Eyes, Blepharitis or MGD?

As a sufferer of dry eyes you are well aware, I’m sure, of how annoying and debilitating this condition can be. Though the symptoms may vary from person to person, there is no doubt that every affected person has their life impacted,depending on the severity, to a lesser or greater extent.

In searching for the best treatment for dry eyes, you may have become very confused by the wide range of remedies on the market. In this article, I hope to explain some of the various options available and how they can help you.

It is important to first of all realise that Dry Eye Disease is both a chronic and a progressive condition. In simple terms this means that it is not something that can be easily cured, though it can be controlled with the help of various therapies, resulting in a reduction of the severity of the symptoms and better eye comfort. It also means that it is a condition that is likely to get progressively worse if no action is taken to help it, so the earlier the problem is dealt with, the better the likelihood of success.

Dry Eye Disease can be caused by many factors, and so before deciding on a particular treatment, it is advisable that you have a Dry Eye assessment to ascertain the exact cause of your symptoms so that you can choose the therapy which is most likely to benefit you.

For most cases of mild dry eyes, the first step in treatment is usually over-the-counter substitute tears in the form of drops, gels and ointments. There is a vast array of brands and formulations available, so it can be confusing deciding which to choose. Artificial tear drops provide quick relief with minimal blurring of vision but the effects are short-lived, so they need to be used frequently to get adequate relief, there are some products containing ingredients which are designed to make the drops longer lasting.

Gel-like drops cling to the surface of your eyes so last longer and need fewer applications, however they can cause transient blurring of your vision. Ointments for dry eyes, coat the front surface thereby reducing evaporation of the tears, however they are best only to be used at night as they can cause prolonged blurring of the vision. Which particular brand or formulation to select is a matter of personal choice – what works for one person may not work for another, so it is often a case of trial and error to find the one that best suits you. If your condition is more than just occasional and mild, then it is possible that you may need some sort of drops and/or oral medication which are only available on prescription. The purpose of these is to treat any bacterial overload which may be contributing to your condition, to reduce inflammation and to help your body produce better quality tears.

Another option are Punctal Plugs, these small sterile devices are inserted by your eye-care specialist, into the small openings in the lids at the corner of your eyes to block the drainage of the tears. This means the tear film stays longer on the eye hopefully resulting in fewer symptoms. These can certainly benefit some people but they have limited success as they do not treat the root of the problem. They can cause excessive tearing but usually they have to be used in addition to artificial tears.

For most sufferers of dry eyes the cause of their problem is related to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. The Meibomian glands are responsible for the production of the protective, outer, oily layer of the tear film, if these glands are not functioning properly then they can become blocked resulting in a poor outer oily layer, leading to excess tear evaporation which causes all the annoying symptoms that you experience. This problem needs a two pronged attack to treat it: heat to melt the solidified blockages in the gland, and pressure to expel the melted secretions. A simple home remedy is to apply warm compresses to the closed eyes, in the form of warm flannels or more specialised ‘eye bags’ which can be heated in the microwave. Unfortunately, though they can provide some relief, they are of limited use as most of the heat applied gets carried away by the blood vessels. Also the heat cannot penetrate the thickness of the eyelid to work effectively enough to fully resolve the problem.

Meibomian gland expression, to clear the glands,can be carried out by some optometrists and ophthalmologists. A forceps type device is used to squeeze the clogged contents out of the Meibomian gland. This can be effective but it can be very uncomfortable especially to those with low pain thresholds, and it does require excellent patient co-operation. For those of you with moderate to severe dry eyes, you may want to consider one of the recent therapies which have been developed to get to the source of the problem to hopefully provide longer term effective relief.

IPL, (Intense Pulsed Light) which has been used in the cosmetic industry for some time, has been developed to treat abnormal blood vessels in the eyelid. This can lead to a reduction in inflammation which can be a cause of malfunctioning of the glands leading to solidification of the contents. This treatment is best used in conjunction with Meibomian Gland Expression. It cannot be used on darker coloured skin types. It needs to be repeated monthly, 3-4 times. It can feel slightly uncomfortable and side-effects of blistering and cheek swelling have been reported, though most disappear within a week.

At the Dry Eye Clinic, we have been having very good results with the latest technology developed to assess, diagnose and treat dry eyes. Lipiflow was developed in America and has been peer-reviewed (the highest level of evidence-based research) in ophthalmic journals. This patented treatment is specifically for people with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (about 85% of dry eye patients). It allows us to examine the tear film and look at the actual structure of the meibomian glands, we can then ascertain if the Lipiflow treatment would be effective for a particular patient.

The treatment allows the correct, constant, precisely controlled temperature of heat to be applied directly over the meibomian glands to melt the secretions. Pulsating pressure is then applied to eliminate the melted secretions from the glands thereby restoring the correct balance of oils in the tear film. Local anaesthetic drops are given prior to the treatment to ensure that it is a pain-free procedure. The eye itself is protected at all times. There is usually some redness of the eyes after the treatment, which is short-lasting, but otherwise side effects are very rare. In clinical studies, 76% of patients report an improvement of their dry eye symptoms within 2 weeks, though it can take longer for improvement to be apparent. Patients also showed an improvement in the quality and quantity of the secretions and consequently, n increase in the time their tear film remained on the eye before evaporation. Typically the benefits of Lipiflow can last 1-3 years. If your dry eyes are affecting your quality of life, you can do something about it. You don’t have to put up with the discomfort. The first step is to have a full dry-eye assessment to check the exact cause and extent of your problem, then you can be directed to the exact treatments that are most likely to benefit you. So don’t despair there is help available. Please contact us for any further details or information.




15 Home Remedies For Dry Eyes

Home Remedies For Dry Eyes

Have you started to experience painful dry eye symptoms?

This might be the early signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome. If you want to find out more about dry eye syndrome click here.

In this post we are going to explore practical tips on how to take action, but first we need to understand what dry eye syndrome is.

Dry Eye Syndrome

When the tear glands around our eyes are healthy they keep the surfaces of our eyes hydrated and smooth. They wash away any debris and dust and keep our eyes free of infection. Our eyes produce tears constantly throughout the day. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where our eyes are not lubricated sufficiently. There are two common reasons for this. Either the glands don’t produce enough tears, or there is insufficient oil in the tears resulting in evaporation. This might produce dry eye symptoms such as:

  • A stinging or burning sensation in your eye
  • Red eye
  • Excess eye watering followed by times when your eyes are dry
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity

Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome

There are many causes of dry eye syndrome. As we age our risk for dry eye symptoms increases. Medical conditions and lifestyle factors may also produce dry eye symptoms.

The majority of dry eyes syndrome cases are caused by a condition called MGD. MGD is a condition where oil producing glands in the eyelids become blocked or produce poor quality oil, limiting the amount of oil they secrete.  This oily layer is an important component part of our tears, as it prevents evaporation.

Simple Home Remedies For Dry Eyes

What can be done to treat your dry eyes depends on what is causing the problem. In many cases, such as MGD, its underlying causes should be dealt with by a specialist eye doctor. Even if this is the case, symptoms may be managed with home remedies.

Reducing the environmental causes is one of the best natural remedies for dry eyes. It can result in a significant improvement to your visual comfort. Try these 15 simple home remedies for dry eyes.

Dry Eye Natural Remedies

1. Avoid blowing air

To avoid tear film evaporation, limit your exposure to blowing air. Blowing air can be caused by heaters, air conditioners or fans. When you are out doors on a windy day try to protect your eyes with wraparound sunglasses. Although wind is not a primary cause of dry eyes, staying away from wind can prevent discomfort.

2. Use a humidifier

Heating systems and air conditioning can cause air to dry out, resulting in dry eye symptoms. To slow dehydration down try using a humidifier to add moisture into the air. If you don’t have one try placing a pot of water onto your radiator.

3. Re-position your computer screen

Positioning your computer screen below eye level can help to reduce dry eye symptoms. When your screen is too high your eyes will open wide to view the screen. Positioning it lower means you won’t have to open your eyes as wide. This will reduce tear evaporation.    

4. Take eye breaks

Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you are reading or using a computer for long periods, remember look away from the screen periodically. Close your eyes for a few minutes, or blink 10 times slowly and repeatedly for a few seconds. This will help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.

5. Improve your blinking

Improve your blinking. It’s easy to forget to blink when you are concentrating for a long period. If you are using a computer consider putting a piece of Blue-Tac on the Enter key of your keyboard. Every time you hit it, you have a reminder to blink. Also try downloading the Korb Blink app on your smartphone. This app is designed to train you to improve your blinking by reminding you to practice at regular intervals.

6. Quit Smoking

Avoid smoke as smoke can greatly worsen dry eye symptoms. If you smoke, your GP can help you come up with a quit smoking strategy that will  work for you. If you don’t smoke, try to stay away from smokers during your work breaks. If you use eye drops, try putting drops in before you will be around smoke to reduce dry eye symptoms.

7. Be aware of your environment

Be aware of your environment. The air at high altitudes, in aeroplanes or in desert areas, can be extremely dry. If you have to spend time in such an environment frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time. This will help to minimise tear evaporation.

8. Wear wraparound sunglasses

When going outdoors, consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eye wear. Safety shields can be added to the sides and tops of your glasses to block wind and dry air and increase humidity.

9. Use eye drops or ointments regularly

If you have chronic dry eyes, use eye drops regularly even when you don’t feel a need. There are many over the counter options and they bring temporary relief  by working like real tears. This will help to keep your eyes well lubricated. Beware, some eye drops contain preservatives to make the drops last longer. If you are using eye drops with preservatives more that four  times a day, the drops may make your symptoms worse. If your eyes react badly to the drops with preservatives, try using preservative free drops.

Ointments are designed to provide longer term relief than drops and are thicker than drops. They can however, impair your vision while you are using them.

10. Wash your eyelids

When you wash your face it is recommended that you wash your eyelids and the surrounding areas at the same time. This can help reduce inflammation. Although some recommend using baby shampoo, it should be avoided as baby shampoo mixes with the oil layer of the tear film. Instead you may wish to purchase medicated wipes to keep your eyelashes free of debris. When cleansing the area your eyelids should be closed. After cleansing, rinse with lukewarm water.

11. Potassium for dry eyes

Eating foods high in potassium may help dry eyes. The reason is potassium is one of the three components of the tear film. Tear film is a thin tear layer that protects our eyes from damage. Potassium plays a significant role in maintaining healthy tear film. You can get potassium from foods such as yogurt, potatoes, sweet potatoes and bananas.  

12. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help the oil making glands in your eyelids work better. This oily layer is produced by the meibomian glands that are situated in the eye lids. The best way to get fish oil is by eating fatty fish or by taking supplements. Sardines, salmon, trout or mackerel are all good sources of omega-3. Although tuna is a good source of omega-3 you should avoid eating too much due to its high level of mercury. If you are a vegetarian you can get your omega-3 fatty acids from spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, flax seed, walnuts and kale.

13. Warm Compress

Your tears consist of three parts. Oil, water and mucus. The oily layer keeps the watery component from dehydrating. Often the glands in the eyelids that produce the oily layer become clogged, resulting in a reduction in oil. This commonly leads to dry eyes. To combat this try using a microwave heat pack to heat your eyelids. Alternatively you can purchase a Heated Eye Pad. Follow the instructions to warm up the heat pack and apply it to your eyelids. After applying the heat, remove the heat pack and apply immediate gentle pressure across your eyelids. The heat will melt any clogged oil in your glands and the pressure will expel it.

14. Stay hydrated

Water is needed for your various organs to function. When you don’t have sufficient water your body may stop producing tears. This leads to dry eyes. To prevent this uncomfortable symptom, simply stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Also make sure to drink adequate water after exercise.

15. Vitamins and supplements

Vitamin D

Several studies have linked vitamin D deficiencies and dry eyes syndrome. A study in Korea revealed that people with dry eye syndrome had significantly lower levels of vitamin D than those without the condition. The link between dry eyes and vitamin D is simply that vitamin D deficiency may cause dry eyes.  It may also help to reduce inflammation of the eye.

It is important to note that there is limited research with regard to vitamins and dry eye.

When To See Your Doctor

In this article we have explored several natural remedies for dry eyes. These remedies are only designed to deal with the symptoms of dry eyes increasing your general comfort. If you are experiencing little relief, or have intense symptoms you should consult a dry eye professional.

You should see a doctor if you experience these symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Eye injury
  • Redness and swelling
  • Continued dryness after trying these home remedies




Is Dry Eye Dangerous?

Is Dry Eye Dangerous

Is Dry Eye Dangerous? Do I need to treat it?

Dry eye disease is very common. It occurs when you don’t produce sufficient tears, or when your tears evaporate too quickly. Your eyes may feel irritated, uncomfortable and red. They may even feel very watery as it is not uncommon to experience excessive tearing. However because the tears are of low quality, they don’t alleviate your symptoms.

Mild Dry Eyes

If your symptoms are only mild you may just notice a problem at the end of the day, but if left untreated more severe symptoms can develop which can significantly affect your quality of life. While Dry Eye Disease isn’t serious or life threatening, it is however chronic and can be a very big annoyance. It can also in severe cases lead to scarring of the surface of the eyes as well as visual impairment.

Dry Eye Complications – Very Dry Eyes

While rare, the following complications can result if dry eyes disease is left untreated:

  • Conjunctivitis – The conjunctiva is the layer that covers the white part of your eye.
  • Untreated dry eyes can lead to inflammation of this membrane. Usually, it is a mild condition but sometimes treatment with antibiotics or antivirals are required
  • Corneal ulcers and scarring. In severe cases of dry eyes, permanent corneal scarring can develop. Corneal ulcers can cause extreme pain, tearing, blurred vision and swelling.
  • Increased susceptibility to infection. Apart from keeping your eyes hydrated, the tear film works to fight infection. Reduced tear production increases the risk of inflammation and infection.
  • Vision loss – Though, thankfully, very uncommon. untreated severe dry eyes can, in rare cases, result in temporary vision loss.

When To See A Dry Eye Specialist

If you think you are suffering from dry eyes then seek professional help. While dry eyes cannot always be cured, the symptoms can be managed through the Dry Eyes Clinic Treatment thus preventing getting to the stage where the aforementioned conditions may occur. As you can see dry eyes, while usually mild, can become more than a temporary annoyance if left untreated.




What Causes Sore Red Dry Eyes

In our Dry Eye Clinic, one of the most common questions I am asked is:

“What has caused me to have severe dry eyes?”

Understandably, most sufferers want to have more insight into why they have developed what is often a most debilitating condition. Unfortunately though, it is rarely easy to give a straightforward answer; for most people, it is not one, but a combination of dry eyes causes which have tipped them over the edge and let to the annoying symptoms of dry eyes.

There are however several risk factors which can make you more susceptible:

  • Ageing, whilst many young people develop dry eyes, there is no doubt that dry eyes is part of the ageing process, the majority of people over 65 experience some form of dry eyes.
  • Gender, women are more likely to suffer due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, oral contraceptives and menopause.
  • Medication, certain medicines including antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medication, HRT and decongestants can all reduce tear production.
  • Medical Conditions, sufferers of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogrens disease, diabetes and thyroid problems are at a higher risk of developing dry eyes.
  • Environmental conditions – exposure to wind, smoke and dry climates can lead to symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Also, inadequate blinking, especially during prolonged computer use has a detrimental effect.

Secondary to other ocular factors, dry eyes can be caused as a result of prolonged contact lens wear, or secondary to laser eye surgery. Also due to problems with the eyelids turning in or out, or blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids or surfaces of the eyes.

In conclusion, there are many factors which can contribute to Dry Eye Disease. For most people it is not just one problem, but several, which eventually make them aware of having a problem.  Sometimes action can be taken to eliminate a risk factor but if not, then there are dry eye treatments available to help. It is always advisable to have a Dry Eye assessment in order that the correct treatment can be tailored to your needs.