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Dry eye symptoms are incredibly common and can have a huge impact on everyday activities. It can also show physical signs of corneal dryness and further results in reduced vision or infections.

Types of Dry Eye

  • Poor tear production or aqueous deficient dry eye disease (ADDED)

There are several conditions that can result in poor tear production – the use of certain medications, post- laser refractive surgery, inflammatory diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogrens syndrome) and scarring of the tear (lacrimal) gland ducts.

  • Increased tear evaporation or evaporative dry eye disease (EDED)

A major cause of increased tear evaporation is meibomian gland dysfunction, commonly called The surface of the tear film is stabilized by a fine layer of oils produced by the meibomian glands of the eyelids. If these glands are blocked, the oily layer is not produced on the tear film and the tears evaporate.

Other conditions resulting in evaporative dry eye disease include environmental causes such as air conditioning and poor blinking or closure of the eyelids.


There are multiple symptoms of dry eyes. These include:

  • Pain and irritation on the surface of the eye

  • Dryness that leads to itching

  • Compromised vision

Causes for Dry Eye

There are several reasons for dry eye. These include:

  • Ageing

      e.g. producing fewer tears as you grow older or eyelids become less efffective at spreading tears.

  • Hormonal changes

      e.g. during pregnancy or menopause

  • Environmental changes

      e.g. from sun, wind, dry climate, high altitudes, reading

  • Medical conditions

      e.g. from allegic conjunctivitis, contact dermatitis, lupus

  • Laser eye surgery

  • Contact lenses

Treatments for Dry Eye

The treatment of any dry eye disease involves a stepped approach and is personalized to each patient’s symptoms and their everyday activities.

Treatment of ADDED

  • Lubricant eye drops, gels and ointments

  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops such as ciclosporin

  • Temporary punctal plugs to prevent drainage of any tears produced

  • Sometimes tablets to increase tear production such as pilocarpine


Treatment of EDED

  • Lubricant eye drops, gels and ointments

  • Warm compresses to help unblock the meibomian glands of the eyelids

  • Short or longer term courses of low dose antibiotics (doxycycline, erythromycin or azithromycin)


Allergic eye disease can be seasonal (such as hayfever) or all year round (such as atopic conjunctivitis). There are certain risk factors for allergic eye disease such as eczema or asthma but these are not present in all cases. The main symptoms are redness, watering and itching of the eyes. In rare cases the cornea at the front of the eye can be affected and this results in reduced vision. In children there is a rare form of allergic eye disease known as vernal conjunctivitis.


Some symptoms of allergic eyes are:

  • Redness

  • Itchiness

  • Watery eyes

  • Burning


There are several causes for allergic eyes. These include:

  • Certain Cosmetics

  • Certain eye drops

  • Artificial tears used for dry eyes

  • Pollen

  • Dust

  • Food allergies


  • Cooled lubricant eye drops

  • Anti-allergy eye drops and tablets

  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops such as ciclosporin

  • Avoid triggers by making changes to your home and your routine.

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen periods; use air conditioning in your home and car.

  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.

  • Use “mite-proof” bedding covers to limit exposure to dust mites, and a dehumidifier to control mold.

  • Wash your hands after petting any animal.

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