Individuals who experience increased blinking during concentration or a sensation of something in their eyes may be suffering from dry eyes, a condition where the eyes lack the necessary tears to keep them properly moistened and nourished. Although eye drops can provide temporary relief, seeking out a dry eye clinic can provide access to a range of other treatment options, medical guidance, and educational resources on the condition.
Dr. Leigh Plowman is a highly qualified optometrist and the founder of Dry Eye Directory, a free online resource that assists individuals in overcoming dry eyes. He completed his optometry degree at the University of Melbourne and also undertook a clinical externship at the Illinois College of Optometry. As a current Key Opinion Leader (KOL) at Oculus Asia, Dr. Plowman firmly believes that dry eyes should not impact an individual’s quality of life or restrict their daily activities. For this reason, he provides comprehensive information on the condition, including its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment solutions, and preventative care tips.
Dry eye is a multifactorial ocular surface disease that is characterized by insufficient tears and discomfort, according to the online resource. Some common symptoms that patients experience include blurred vision, red or sore eyes, a gritty feeling, itchy eyes, a stinging sensation, on-and-off vision, watery eyes, and excessive tearing. The tear film, on the other hand, consists of three layers: the inner mucin layer that coats the eye’s surface, the middle aqueous layer that contains nourishing vitamins and minerals and makes up most of the tears, and the outer lipid layer that uses oils to seal the film and prevent dryness.
Besides keeping the eyes moisturized, the three layers maintain a natural balance in the eye, making it comfortable. However, when there’s an inadequate/unstable tear film, a decrease in tear production, or increased evaporation, the balance is disrupted, leading to dry eyes.
The main causes of dry eye include health conditions, aging, medications, hormonal changes, eyelid problems, recent eye surgery, and skincare/cosmetic products. A person’s lifestyle and daily activities, from wearing contact lenses to driving/reading for a long time, environmental factors, inadequate sleep, and prolonged screen time may cause dry eyes. Individuals with increased sensitivity to smoke, wind, or light, finding it hard to open their eyelids in the morning, experiencing eye fatigue, or suffering from eye irritation may also have dry eyes. Optometrists associate headaches and migraines with dry eyes once they eliminate other lifestyle causes, injuries, or accidents.
Dry Eye Directory emphasizes the importance of catching and preventing dry eyes early before eye infections or permanent damage occurs on the surface. Treating dry eyes begins with a proper diagnosis from an optometrist who conducts a checkup and determines the severity of the condition before prescribing treatments like artificial fears, supplements, intense pulsed light procedures, or warm compresses. An optometrist may recommend ear duct flushing, amniotic membranes/drops, scleral contact lenses, or meibomian gland expression.
Dr. Leigh Plowman has reviewed the best eye drops for dry eyes on the website and also recommends skincare/makeup and at-home products for people with sensitive skin/eyes. Individuals can visit the website to find a dry eye clinic in their area or learn more about Dry Eye Directory.
Dry Eye Directory
30 North Gould Street
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Rainier Watchdog journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.