Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a common ocular condition that impacts visual comfort and clarity. A survey conducted by Optometry Australia found that 77 per cent of Australians suffer from this preventable condition yet only 26 per cent have seen an optometrist regarding treatment options. There are many items on the market, where do we start?
Dry eyes occur when the tear film responsible for maintaining lubrication and clear vision is disrupted. The tear film consists of mucus, water, oils and antibodies.
Insufficient tear production or poor tear quality will result in watery, gritty, stinging and dry eyes. Factors that may contribute to DES include aging, hormonal changes, environmental conditions and medical conditions such as Sjoren’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Effects on vision
Common vision-related symptoms include blurred or fluctuating vision, sensitivity to light, fatigue and increased eye irritation. Prolonged untreated dry eyes may lead to corneal damage and potential vision loss. Recognising these symptoms is crucial for timely intervention and appropriate treatment. If you suspect you have DES book an
appointment with your local optometrist to prevent damage to your eyes.
1. Artificial tears are sold over the counter, they provide temporary relief by supplementing moisture. There are many different types on the market so it’s best to consult your optometrist for correct recommendations.
2. Prescription medications may be necessary for advanced cases, only TPA-approved optometrists can prescribe these.
3. Lifestyle modifications may be beneficial.
4. Lid hygiene and warm compress can help improve tear quality and reduce the risk of inflammation and infection.
5. Nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil or flaxseed oil may improve tear quality and reduce symptoms.
Dry eyes can significantly impact visual comfort and performance, recognising signs and symptoms is essential for effective treatment. By adopting appropriate management strategies you can alleviate discomfort, improve vision and maintain optimal eye health.