Dry Eye Conditions, Symptoms and Possible Solutions
posted by Lorna Evans
Do you suffer with dry eyes? Millions of people all over the world do & it is predominantly women!
I’ll offer a brief explanation of the eyes & the liquid over them before going into some of the conditions that may cause or be a symptom of dry eyes. The eyeball itself is protected by an antibacterial liquid (tears) that help to keep the eyes moisturised & comfortable. Dry eyes can occur when the liquid isn’t produced in enough quantity or quality. You may feel like your eyes have grit in them, are irritated & you may experience blurred vision. Interestingly your eyes may produce extra tears to compensate but as they are highly likely to be of an inferior quality this does not help!
Our modern lifestyle including not drinking enough water (sorry!), central heating, air conditioning, computer use, television viewing & playing games on video game consoles are all contributors to dry eye problems as are our poor diet with fruit & vegetable being much lower in vitamin & mineral levels than they used to be 20 years ago.
If you are a woman there are specific conditions that you may be affected by – the menopause is a time of change where dry eyes are common; if you are female, suffering from dry eyes, dry mouth and or dry vagina you may like to investigate whether you have Sjogren’s Syndrome (the 2nd most common auto immune condition in the UK) –GPs often miss this as women may only complain of one of the symptoms leaving the other 2 out not realising they may be connected (www.sjogrens.org) ; if you have been prescribed Tamoxifen following breast cancer you may suffer with dry eyes as a side effect.
Male & female Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers sometimes experience dry eyes & mouth as RA is another auto-immune disease. Blepharitis causes inflammation of the eyelids & therefore can irritate dry eyes.
Solutions - lifestyle focused:
- Drink more water
- Consider humidifiers on radiators to increase moisture levels in the air
- Look at buying organic fruit & vegetables as recent studies have proven that the vitamin & mineral levels are higher than non organic versions
- If you don’t like fruit & vegetables particularly consider a high quality vitamin & mineral supplement such as Maximol. High street retailers often fill their supplements with unnecessary ingredients & not enough of what you need. Maximol is a liquid supplement that is highly accessible to your body & therefore gives great results
- Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin A & Zinc are all good specific supplements
Solutions – Product focused
- Lubricating Drops or Gel – available from opticians & pharmacies may alleviate symptoms while you sort out the causes if you can.
- Artificial Tear Ointment – may cause irritation so opt for preservative free ones if possible!
- Tranquileyes – Water Hydration for eyes. These are new in from the United States & were developed specifically for people suffering from Sjogren’s but studies have shown them to be very effective for many dry eye conditions. The idea is that you have a warm, wet, comfortable eye goggle that creates a seal around the eyes & encourages moisture to be maintained. Some clients have found that eyes are producing their own moisture during the day if the goggles are worn at night. For full details of the products, prices, studies & to buy have a look at www.eyeeco.co.uk.
- Surgery (Punctal Occlusion) suitable for severe cases
If you have any questions about any of the conditions or products mentioned in this article please call Lorna Evans, B.Sc. (Hons.) on 0845 430 9684 or 01442 248122.
BenTasha Complementary Therapies have been established in Hemel Hempstead since February 2004, are a husband & wife team offering Advice, Highly Effective Products & Excellent Customer Service.