Dry Eye
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Learn about the causes of Dry Eye & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Dry Eye within New Zealand.

Therapies which may benefit Dry Eye

Dry eye is a disease caused by decreased tear production, or an imbalance in the tear system. Symptoms include pain, light sensitivity, a gritty sensation, itching, redness and blurred vision.

 

Causes of dry eye

Dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, has a number of causes such as illnesses, drug side-effects, hormonal changes, age and environmental factors. InDry Eye | The Wellness Directorymost cases, there is no one single cause.

The eye is constantly covered in a film of liquid which we only notice when we cry or laugh (tears). The liquid contains proteins, mucus, fats and cells for fighting infection. Tears help to keep the eye clean, protect it from infection and aid vision.


Tears are produced by the lacrimal functional unit which contains the lacrimal gland, meibomian gland, eyelid, cornea and tear duct. Together, these parts produce the liquid substance, spread the tears across the eye and allow the tears to run off into the nose. If any part of the unit is affected, the quantity and quality of tears is reduced resulting in dry eye syndrome.


The lacrimal functional unit can be affected by:

  • Hormonal changes – hormones stimulate tear production. Hormonal changes such as the menopause can make women susceptible to dry eye syndrome.
  • Nervous system – the nervous system triggers tears to protect the eyes from harmful substances such as smoke or air pollution.
  • Environment – factors such as the sun, wind and high altitude can cause tears to evaporate leading to dry eyes.
  • Occupational hazards – jobs that require reading, writing or computer use cause the eyes to blink less, this results in tear evaporation leading to dry eye.
  • Drugs – certain medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines and beta-blockers may cause dry eye syndrome.
  • Contact lenses – lenses can irritate the eye causing dry eyes.
  • Laser eye surgery – symptoms of dry eye syndrome can be experienced after laser surgery although they usually clear after a few weeks.
  • Medical conditions – certain conditions such as conjunctivitis, eczema and rosacea can cause the eyelids to become inflamed leading to dry eye syndrome.
  • Age – fewer tears are produced as the body ages leading to dry eyes.

Symptoms of dry eye

The common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • dry, sore or gritty eyes
  • red eyes
  • watery eyes when exposed to wind
  • eyelids that stick together when waking in the morning
Dry eye syndrome can lead to further complications such as scarred corneas and conjunctivitis. Symptoms of these conditions include:
  • light sensitivity
  • red eyes
  • painful eyes
  • vision deterioration

Diagnosis of dry eye

Dry eye syndrome can permanently damage your sight so if you experience any of the above symptoms visit your GP as soon as possible.

The GP will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and perform an examination to check for any underlying causes. The GP may then refer you to an eye specialist (optometrist) who will examine your eyes and perform a few diagnostic tests such as:

  • Schirmer test – this test involves small pieces of blotting paper which are placed under the eyelids to study how wet the paper becomes.
  • Rose Bengal test – a non-toxic red dye is dropped into the eye to see how well the tears are functioning.
Your GP may also refer you to a surgeon who specialises in eye diseases (ophthalmologist).


*Source: GoToSee.co.uk



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