Dry eye caused by Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is one of the reasons why Venus Williams pulled out of the 2011 US Tennis open. Last weekend, at the Luxembourg open final, Venus won her first major title after a 31 month barren period.
Venus had been dealing with SS for many months prior to the diagnosis and this was the reason for her recent dip in form. She experienced dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, swelling and loss of hearing which all affected her ability to play tennis.
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 theme for Independents Day this is ‘Close Encounters of the Patient Kind’ and there will be a sporting theme for the gala evening.
Double Olympiad and former modern pentathlete Professor Greg Whyte, will be the guest speaker. Although an authority on exercise physiology and sports performance, he is probably better known for his training and mentoring of celebrities such as David Walliams and Eddie Izzard.
A dry eye gel can be helpful in relieving discomfort triggered by dry, dusty or windy environments or dry eye caused by medication such as HRT, anti-histamines.
Clinitas Hydrate is a liquid gel that spreads rapidly over the cornea to relieve friction and provide lubrication. It works by boosting the aqueous layer of the tear film. In addition to releasing water it also contains carbomer 980 which means the eye drops stay longer in the eye to provide lasting relief.
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.
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.