So why do you need tears?
The tears are made up of 3 layers, the top layer is oil to lubricate the blinking action. The middle layer is watery to wash away foreign bodies and keep the eye clean. The layer closest to the eye is the mucous layer to help the tears stick to the eye. This combination of oil & water keeps the eyes healthy & comfortable. Imagine a car engine without any oil, parts of the engine will grate & grind together causing damage eventually causing the engine to seize up and stop working. The eyelids along with the oily tears lubricate the blink preventing friction between the lid & the front surface of the eye. Without this oil the lids will grate across the front of the eye leading to red uncomfortable sore inﬂamed eyes.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry or dusty environments
Prolonged computer use including tablets & mobile phones
Some systemic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, acne rosacea
Some medications such as blood pressure & contraceptive pill
Hormonal changes such as pregnancy & menopause
Eye injury or infections
Laser eye surgery
Any of the 3 layers could be defective therefore, the ﬁrst advice would be to book in with your optician to conﬁrm diagnosis. The optometrists at Elliott & Heath are experts in dry eye & poor tears supported by ocular hygienists who can issue a full treatment plan.
Dry Eye Clinic
Once you have your diagnosis you will be offered an appointment in our dry eye clinic. This is a 45 min private appointment at a cost of £50. The appointment includes a full tear assessment to determine the extent of your condition. A full slit lamp examination of the anterior eye using diagnostic dyes will be done by our dry eye expert. Tests can include:
Tear break up time
Meibomian Gland Examination
Inflammadry MMP9 Inflammatory Marker Test
Meibomian Gland Expression
Tear prism assessment
Schirmer test to determine tear volume
At the end of your appointment you will be issued with a treatment plan to continue your journey to recovery. These treatments may include:
Dry Eye Spa
You may be offered a dry eye spa heat treatment followed by lid massage & lid cleansing. Samples of tailored eye drops & gels will be used to ﬁnd the best relief to your symptoms. Dry eye is a chronic condition which means it will never recover completely but will require ongoing management of the condition.
If your symptoms are caused by water deficiency which is common post surgery, certain immune diseases such a Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome or hormonal changes such as menopause, one of those treatments could be fitting Punctal Plugs.
These are tiny plugs which block the drainage hole which drains the tears away down the nose & throat. Plugging this hole can keep the tears on the eye longer also improving the effects of eye drops as these can drain away quickly too.
This can only be done by a trained Optician or Ophthalmologist. Risks or complications are extremely low but results are better if any active blepharitis or inflammation is treated first.
Ask your optician if you think this might be an option for you.
The NHS does not fund this clinic. If you need further NHS advice please contact your GP.