Dry eyes

Irritation and sensitivity caused by shortage or low quality of tears

Suffering From Dry, Itchy, Red Or Burning Eyes?

Dry eye is more than just an inconvenience for many people.

It often feels like your eyes are uncomfortable, red or stinging. It feels as though there's something in them that you need to rub with you hands. During prolonged reading or screen use, you might find your eyes watering more than usual and your vision might get blurry.

For people who feel these symptoms a lot, lubrication from eye drops only provide partial relief. This is often because the meibomian glands around your eyes aren't producing sufficient oil to maintain a long-lasting tear film on the eye when you blink

What is dry eye disease?

Our eyes are protected by think layer of tear film left behind when we blink. Dry eye disease is when a shortage of high quality tear film means that the surface of the eye dries out too quickly between blinks.

When the surface of the eye is too dry, it can cause irritation, inflammation, itchiness, soreness, blurry vision and even wateriness as the eyes try to 'flush out' the cause of the irritation.

The two main problems that we can have with our tear film are:

  • Evaporative Dry Eye: a shortage of oily fluid in the tear film allows it to dry out too quickly. For most people with dry eye disease, this is the root cause of their symptoms.
  • Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye: a shortage of the watery part of the tear film, leaving the eye too dry after blinking.

What causes dry eyes?

Evaporative Dry Eye is caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

The Meibomian glands are found along the edge of our eyelids. They produce the oily part of our tears. They are small and can easily become blocked or inflamed, meaning they can't produce or release as much of these oils.

When the Meibomian glands aren't supplying enough high quality oil to go into your tears, it leaves the tear film too watery and so it evaporates quickly from the eye in between blinks.

Dry eye disease treatment options

Most people initially treat their dry eyes with lubricating eye drops. These can help with the symptoms they are experiencing, but if the symptoms don't improve then we can instead treat the root cause of dry eye disease.

Our clinic has the most advanced diagnostic and treatment equipment available.

When we see someone with dry eyes we measure the quality and coverage of their tear film and carry out a complete eye health assessment.

If Meibomian gland dysfunction is likely to be the root cause of a patient's dry eye disease, our Optometrists can offer specialist Optilight Intense Pulsed Light therapy to improve the quantity and quality of the vital oily part of the tear film.

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About our surgeons

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.

Mr Jack Gormley | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB ChB (Hons) FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic and York Teaching Hospital, where I lead the Corneal and Refractive service. I have completed over 2,000 surgical and laser eye procedures.