Google searches for “dry eye” have more than doubled over the past ten years.

The ever-increasing reliance on mobile and computer screens has seen the number of people complaining of dry eye increase.

What is Dry Eye?

“Dry Eye Syndrome” also known as “Dry Eyes” is a common condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This leads to your eyes drying out or becoming irritated.

Common symptoms that people with Dry Eye have are;
• Watery Eyes
• Gritty Feeling
• Red Inflammation
• Mucus Around Eyes

Optometrists are increasingly looking for and treating digital eye strain in children.

About 80 per cent of children report digital eye strain when using digital devices, and this can cause dry eye. Optometrists are also encouraging children (and adults who spend a lot of time in front of screens) to blink more in an effort to help combat digitally related dry eye problems,

The type of digital device you use, the type of screen you use, viewing distances, how many hours a day you use digital devices and whether you are using a multi-screen system can all impact on dry eye symptoms.

Interestingly concurrent screen use is associated with a higher incidence of digital eye strain symptoms.

Meibomian Glands

These glands produce oil, except if they are not functioning properly. Of those people with dry eye, 86 per cent have evaporative dry eye, so regenerating these glands to produce healthy oils is important.

Your optometrist can show you blinking exercises, as this improves dry eye symptoms. You need to feel your eyelids close completely, because if they don’t close, the healthy oils (lipids) will not be expressed. It has been found that if you practice lid-blinking exercises your Dry Eye symptoms can improve.

Treatments

There are many advances that have been made in the treatment of Dry Eye, changes to your diet, living conditions, where you sit and work, your hobbies and oral supplements such as fish oil and Omega-3s can all help in the treatment and reduce your symptoms.

Optometrists also have Miebo – an eydrop that is designed to supplement the lipid layer and fill in where the oil film is missing. The drops protect the tear layer from evaporation, and also reduce the friction on the surface of your eye when you blink.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment stimulates the meibomian glands leading them to return to normal function, usually within a few hours of the treatment. Usually three treatments provide a marked improvement, but you may need a repeat course later if your symptoms return.

Rexoneye Treatment can deliver long term relief and all that’s needed is four x 20 minute sessions over the course of around 4 weeks.

Mites

Demodex folliculorum – also known as eyelash mites may be contributing to your symptoms. These mites can overpopulate on your eyelashes and contribute to symptoms.

Upwards of 80 per cent of people with blepharitis have eyelash mites. 84 per cent of people aged 60 and close to 100 per cent of those over age 70 have them.