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What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common condition resulting in individuals being unable to produce enough moisture to properly lubricate their eyes. This also occurs when tears evaporate excessively. Dry eyes can present in various ways, including a combination of the following symptoms: soreness, burning, watering, foreign body sensation, and blurry vision.

Dry eye is a chronic condition and requires long-term management. If left untreated, the condition may worsen or recur over time. It is essential to address the symptoms of dry eye to help prevent damage in the longer term. Since dry eye cannot be permanently cured, it is important to find the underlying causes to reduce dry eye symptoms.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

When it comes to dry eyes, causes are often a combination of different factors that affect the regular production of tears in the eye.

Lifestyle/Environment Causes

  • Excessive screen time
  • Lack of blinking
  • Prolonged exposure to heater/air conditioning/wind/dust/smoke
  • Lack of sleep
  • Dehydration
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking
  • Non-compliance with instructions for soft contact lenses (eg. extensive wear, sleeping in lenses)

Non-Lifestyle Causes

  • Eyelid disease (such as blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction)
  • Skin disorders (rosacea, eczema, dry skin)
  • Systemic conditions such as autoimmune disorders (eg. Sjogren’s, rheumatoid arthritis), fibromyalgia, vitamin A deficiency
  • Use of certain drugs (such as hormone replacement therapy, some acne medications, some medications for high blood pressure, antihistamines, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and others)
  • Allergies (eg .dust, pollen, ryegrass)
  • Ageing
  • Previous eye surgery

What to Do if You Have Dry Eyes

If you experience any eye discomfort, you should consult Bayside Eyecare’s optometrists for a comprehensive eye examination so a diagnosis of the underlying condition can be confirmed.

Depending on the severity and cause of your dry eyes, some of the following therapies for dry eye treatment may be recommended:

  • Preservative-free lubricants (dry eye drops, gels or ointments) 
  • Warm compresses and eyelid massage
  • Lid hygiene 
  • Environmental/dietary modifications
  • Omega 3 supplements
  • Sessions of in-office treatment for lid disease 

It is important to seek professional advice on the appropriate lid scrubs or eye drops for dry eyes, as some options may irritate your eyes further.

Dry Eye Treatment with Bayside Eyecare

At Bayside Eyecare, our optometrists will perform a thorough assessment to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for our in-office treatment. The procedure includes lid warming with a heat mask, followed by meibomian gland expression. If blepharitis is present, we also clean the eyelid margin with an anti-bacterial lid treatment. Our clients receive a reusable heat mask to continue home treatment thereafter.

Depending on the cause of your dry eyes, the optometrist will provide personalised advice as to how to appropriately manage the condition in the long term.

After your dry eyes treatment, you will still need to continue with a maintenance regime at home for a minimum of two to three months before re-assessment. If dry eyes symptoms continue to be a concern, there are other treatments available. Further assessment can determine what treatment is best for you. These options may include:

  • IPL
  • Antibiotics if eyelid disease is severe 
  • Medicated drops requiring a prescription, such as anti-inflammatory/ciclosporin 
  • Autologous serum eye drops
  • Amniotic membrane grafts
  • Punctal occlusion or other surgical options 

Contact Us

If you are struggling with dry eyes, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bayside Eyecare’s optometrists. Simply complete our online contact form or give our friendly team a call on (03) 9596 1238, so we can begin to find the right dry eye treatment for you.