Dry Eye

What is dry eye?
What causes dry eye?
Symptoms of dry eye
Treatment of dry eye

Are your eyes feeling dry, irritated, tired, gritty and even watery? Made worse after spending long periods reading and using the computer?

You may have dry eye.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes occurs when your natural tears are unable to keep your eyes well lubricated and feeling comfortable. This could be due to your eyes not producing enough tears or the oil producing glands in your eyelids may be blocked.

What Causes Dry Eye?

  • Age
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause
  • Medications such as hormone replacement therapy, anti-histamines and diuretics
  • Other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, sjogrens syndrome, allergies
  • Environment e.g outdoors, wind, air conditioning
  • Reduced blinking and eye strain from staring at the computer or tv screen for an extended period
  • Contact lens wear
  • Inflammation
  • Refractive (lasik) surgery

Symptoms Of Dry Eye

  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Irritation, sore, tired eyes
  • Grittiness, foreign body sensation
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitive to light

Treatment Of Dry Eye

Treatment usually can involve a combination of lubricating artificial tears, prescription eye drops, warm compresses with a wheat bag, supplements and even prescription oral medication.

Artificial Tears

 Artificial tears are the most common treatment for dry eye. These eyes drops supplement your natural tears providing a cool, soothing and moisturising effect for your eyes. Artificial tears are available over-the-counter, without a prescription and comes in either multi-dose bottles or single-use vials. For moderate to severe dry eye thicker tear supplements including gels and ointments can help but may be sticky and give you blurry vision initially.

 Multi-dose bottles
Can be used for an extended period (as specified by the manufacturer) and contains a preservative to ensure they do not become contaminated with bacteria after opening

Single-use vials

These eye drops are preservative free which makes them suitable for people with sensitive eyes. As they do not contain a preservative, once opened each vial can only be used for a maximum of 1 day before discarding.

 Warm Compresses

Our eyelids are lined with glands (meibomian glands) which produce the oily layer of our tears. With dry eye, these oil glands become blocked and prevent normal secretion of the oils. Doing warm compresses by placing a small wheat bag over the eyes can help unblock these glands.


Omega-3 found in oily fish, flax-seed oil and some nuts help with dry eyes by providing an anti-inflammatory effect. Studies have shown that 1200mg of omega-3 daily can improve your dry eye symptoms.

It can take 6-8 weeks of regularly taking these supplements before you notice any effects. We recommend high quality, pharmaceutical grade omega-3.

Punctal Plugs

 The puncta are small ducts found in the inner corners of your eyelids to help your tears drain away from your eyes. Punctal plugs are used to treat dry eye and are small microscopic devices that are inserted to prevent the drainage of your tears.

Prescription Medications- eyedrops and tablets

More serious dry eye may require prescription anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal and steroidal) eyedrops or oral antibiotics to decrease the inflammation of the eyes.

Therapeutic optometrists may prescribe medication to manage your dry eye just like your G.P.