Do your eyes ever feel gritty and sandy? Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a common condition caused by a chronic lack of sufficient moisture on the surface of the eye. Find out more and learn how symptoms can be minimised.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a relatively common ailment with nearly 20 per cent of the Australian adult population suffering - and is even more common among older adults. It occurs when there is not enough moisture (or tears) present to lubricate the eye sufficiently, causing symptoms such as itching, irritation and grittiness.
While there are many causes, conditions of a modern lifestyle such as working on computer screens, driving cars, artificial lights, air pollution, wearing contact lenses and air conditioning, make Dry Eye Syndrome a more and more common nuisance.
While there is no cure and the type of treatment depends on the underlying cause, here are 5 ways that can help manage Dry Eye Syndrome.
Research has shown that the correct balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 in our diet is important to ensure the right consistency and quality of the oil glands on our eyelids which help to control the evaporation of our tears and lubricate the eye surface. Most western diets are high in Omega 6 so supplementation with Omega 3 has been shown to reduce dry eye symptoms by 71 per cent.
2. Lid hygiene
Our eyelid margins can become contaminated with makeup and bacteria over time, which in term can cause minor eye infections and redness of the eyelid. Medical grade eyelid scrubs with either pre- moistened pads or foam cleansers can reduce the bacterial load on the eyelids, and also remove excess debris and old cells from the eyelid margins. It is recommended that you consult with your eye health professional for advice on the right product for your eyes.
Optimel is a medical grade Manuka Honey which has been found to reduce dry eye symptoms by reducing the bacterial load on the ocular surface, and also reducing inflammation and redness of the eyelids. It is a preservative free product.
4. Latent heat
Research from the US has shown that as the oil glands become blocked, heat is required to melt the oil and allow the glands to function normally again. Current techniques can involve Ceramic Bead Heat Packs which are applied to the eyelids for ten minutes. A more potent way to increase the eyelid oil temperature is with the Blephasteam Heat Mask. This device generates a moist heat chamber for a period of ten minutes to melt the eyelid oils. Your eye health practitioner can then massage the eyelids to get the glands flowing again.
5. Intense pulse light (E-EYE)
IPL for Dry Eye Syndrome was developed in France. This technique involves applying IPL treatment to the lower eyelid to melt the oils in the glands and stimulate improved gland function. Research from Auckland has found that after three treatments, 86 per cent of patients with evaporative Dry Eyes experienced an improvement in their symptoms. IPL is performed by Optometrists and Ophthalmologists following assessment for suitability. The treatment is quick and painless, and is now available in a growing number of Australian eye health practices.
For further information on an IPL practice near you, go to www.dry-eyes.com.au