Although many people are told that sore or gritty eyes are caused by blocked tear ducts, to have both ducts obstructed is very uncommon. It is more likely that dry eye is the problem.
Dry eye is a term used for a variety of tear film disorders that result in the inadequate wetting of the eye, which includes insufficient tear production or too rapid evaporation. The punctal is a small opening on the inner eye lid and a plug is sometimes inserted to slow tear drainage, known as punctal occlusion. However, eye drops, such as Clinitas Soothe specifically developed for dry eye can often overcome the issue without more invasive treatment.
Administering Clinitas eye drops up to four times a day can reduce the symptoms of dry eye.
Eye health check-ups aren’t just for people who need glasses, according to contact lens optician Nick Atkins from PTR Consultants, speaking at the start of National Eye Health Week.
Nick discussed the bredth of health conditions that can be picked up by a check-up including diabetes and high blood pressure in a series of interviews broadcast on local and community radio stations across the country.
Watery eyes, particularly in windy, sunny or dry conditions, can be caused by dry eye syndrome, which can also be triggered by many medical conditions and taking certain medications.
Gareth Thomas, Head of Sales and Marketing at Altacor, says: “Lubrication of the eye is very sophisticated. The eye is bathed in a film of tears every time you blink. This film has a watery inside contained by an oily outside layer to reduce evaporation, and a lubricant on the innermost layer nearest the eye ball. These delicate layers can easily be disrupted by medication, including the contraceptive pill.”
The characteristic dry eye symptoms include scratchy or itchy feeling eyes that look red rimmed. However, the eye can also over compensate resulting in watery eyes. This makes the condition difficult to recognise despite being very easy to treat.
The dehydrating effects of flying do not only affect the skin, it can cause dry eye symptoms particularly if you wear contact lenses or are using a laptop. Resealable eye drops could be the answer, Clinitas Soothe is available in small 0.5ml vials and contain enough treatment for even a long haul flight.
Dry itchy eyes is frequently it is the reason why patients give up using their contact lenses. To help opticians diagnose dry eye quickly and more accurately, Altacor, the ophthalmic products specialists, and No7 the contact lenses manufacturer have collaborated on a trial and the initial results have been very positive.
Andrew Merry Optometrists were one of the first to join the trial in which self-contained dry eye diagnostic kits were provided free of charge by Altacor and No7, and the opticians were trained in how to use them.
Janet Wilkinson of Andrew Merry Optometrists says:
“The trial went extremely well. People often come in saying they have itchy eyes or a burning sensation and are thinking of stopping wearing their contact lenses. Others think they need a new prescription because their vision is starting to blur.
“Normally we would ask a few questions and then recommend eye drops, but we wouldn’t always be able to do any specific tests as appointment time can be limited.
“In the trial, we assessed everyone that complained of dry eye. The kits contained a Lissamine green stain which we can use to examine the eye and look at tear break-up time.”
The diagnostic kit was developed by Altacor and No7 following consultation with opticians. It provides everything needed in one box and issufficient for testing 10 patients. It helps to identify what type of eye treatment will be most effective.
Dry eye is a term used for a variety of tear film disorders that result in the inadequate wetting of the eye.
The characteristic symptom of ‘dry eye’ is scratchy or itchy feeling eyes that look red rimmed. However, some tear film disorders can actually result in watery eyes because the eye tries to compensate for the damage caused to it’s surface layer.
Hormones stimulate the production of tears and so hormonal changes associated with the menopause can be a risk factor for dry eye. As we age, we also produce fewer tears, which may explain why dry-eye is particularly common amongst older women.
Several medicines are associated with dry eye including antihistamines, antidepressants and some drugs used to treat high blood pressure. Using Clinitas eye-drops alongside these treatments can therefore be of great benefit. Other risk factors for dry-eye include recent laser surgery and medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Some nurses have reported that dry eye is one of the side-effects that patients often find sufficiently distressing to stop taking their medication. Clinitas is also available on prescription so if you are on medication and experiencing dry eye it would be worth discussing this with your GP.
If you may sometimes suffer from tired eyes with a gritty or itching sensation, then you may suffer from ‘dry eye’, a common problem for computer-users.
Good eye hygiene as described below will help prevent dry eye syndrome and the associated condition of blepharitis, which is inflammation (redness and swelling) of the rims of the eyelids.
Wet a cloth with warm water and hold it against your closed eyes for five to ten minutes. The heat warms up the tiny eyelid glands which release a mucus-like fluid and make it flow more easily. The cleansing action decreases the number of bacteria that break down the oil.
Massage your eyes by gently rolling your first finger over them in a circular motion – this helps draw the oil out of the glands.
Gently clean your eyelids using cotton wool and cooled boiled water – a cotton bud can also be used to clean your upper and lower eyelid and remove any crustiness.
When using a computer try to look away from the screen at regular intervals.
Use a humidifier and reduce the use of fans in hot, dry environments.
Consider use of a gentle tear replacement fluid, such as one of the Clinitas products, to provide more moisture and lubrication for the surface of your eye to bring relief, looking for a preservative free solution (such as Clinitas Soothe) would also be beneficial.
Eye drops can provide relief from dry eye symptoms. These eye drops contain ‘tear substitutes’ which mimic the protective properties of tears. You may need to reapply the eye drops several times a day and this is where Clinitas Soothe can help.
Clinitas Soothe is unique in that its supplied in an easy to use, sterile, resealable dropper that can be slipped into a pocket or handbag. Each container holds about 8 drops which is sufficient for one day’s use. It can be recapped and can be used for up to 12 hours.
Comedian Tim Vine won joke of the year award at the annual Lafta awards this month, but those of us who think that having sore eyes is a far from a laughing matter might appreciate some of his older jokes.
Mr Vine, who is the brother of BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy, has won the award for the best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 with the line: “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”
And he was also runner-up in for the Edinburgh joke of the year last year with the line:
“Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.”
If you want relief from sore eyes try some Clinitas soothe but to find out more about the Lafta awards see.