The front of our eye is covered by a natural tear film keeping it comfortable and moist.
Dry eye is when the tear film is not protecting the eyes properly, leading to gritty, burning and irritated eyes. In severe cases, dry eye can be painful and cause longstanding damage to the surface of the eye. This can result in the eyes become inflamed.
If your eyelids are sore, hot, crusty and red you may also have Blepharitis, a condition where the eyelids become inflamed and sore. It is quite common to have both blepharitis and dry eye.
There are a number of factors that can increase our chances of developing dry eye:
Age - over 60’s are the most common group. This is often because the glands that produce tears can become less effective or blocked with age (blepharitis)
Air conditioning and central heating - causes evaporation of tears
Inflammatory disease for example Rheumatoid Arthiritis or Lupus
Long periods of time on screens or digital devices
Contact lens wear
Dry eye usually requires management with eye drops to keep your eyes moist and pain free. Different products have different active ingredients and vary between liquid drops, gels and ointments.
Your optometrist will advise you which products to use and how often to use them. If you need drops for long term use you may benefit from a repeat prescription from your doctor.