Here's the experience of one of our dry eye patients, Lesley Clarke.
"I was having severe problems with my eyes, being sore, red and puffy. Having been to my doctor and prescribed antibiotics and still no real improvement I was beginning to despair. Then I read an advertisement about Buchanan's and how they can treat this type of condition. I made an appointment with Kathryn, and she examined my eyes and prescribed cream and drops and told me it would improve my eyes. I was doubtful as I had been suffering for many months and nothing I tried worked but after a few weeks my eyes improved and are now almost back to normal. I am so grateful to Kathryn as it feels like I have my life back again. I was becoming so despondent, so this treatment has been a lifesaver for me! My sincere thanks to Kathryn."
Dry eye is a very common condition, affecting up to 40% of the population at some time in their lives. It is particularly common in those over 40 and is more common in women than men. The condition causes symptoms such as gritty feeling eyes, irritation, burning, itching, blurred vision, eyes sticking together at night and, surprisingly, watery eyes. The excessive watering is caused by the dryness. The eye naturally produces more water to try and combat the dryness; however, this often leads to over-tearing. This can be a problem for most people on very cold windy days, but those suffering from dry eye, experience it more often.
Why do your eyes get dry?
Dry eye is caused by a problem with your tears. When you blink, you leave a thin layer, called the tear film, over the front of your eye. The tear film keeps the front of your eye healthy and helps the eye focus properly, giving you clear vision. Tears are made up of three parts- lipid, water and mucus. If the tear film balance is incorrect the tears do not stick to the eye, they evaporate and dry out more quickly. If you don't produce enough tears, if your tears aren't of the right quality or aren't spread across the front of your eye properly, you may develop dry eye. Conditions such as blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelids) and meibomian gland dysfunction (blockage of the oil-secreting ducts in the eyelid) can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
Dry eyes can be affected by many factors including environment, occupation, age, laser surgery, hormones and the weather.
Certain conditions such as arthritis, thyroid problems, Lupus, Sjogren’s and certain medications can cause painful dry eyes.
You may also be more prone to sore, dry eye if you wear contact lenses, read a lot or work on a computer. But the good news is that you do not have to live with the symptoms.
Your condition is worth treating, even if you feel you can live with the dry eye symptoms. A dry surface to your eye, a little like dry skin, makes you more prone to infections such as cysts, styes and conjunctivitis. If you receive treatment early, it can stop further damage to your eyes. Long-term dryness can cause ulceration of the cornea and scarring, so it is best treated long before it gets to this stage.
Here's what one of our clients, Mrs. Dodgson said about her dry eye treatment from Buchanan Optometrists "Thank you very much for what you have done for me, I cannot put a price on it. Before the treatment, I could hardly open my eyes because of the dryness. I couldn't drive the car or watch the television, and I was at my wits end because the doctors, opticians and hospital consultants offered no help and left me thinking that there was nowhere else to turn. You have given me back my life and for this, I am incredibly thankful."
The Dry eye Assessment
The tear film is a complex structure and needs to be correctly assessed before treatment can be targeted to stop dryness at the root cause, rather than just trying a range of drops to treat the symptoms, which may never work. Therefore we recommend a dry eye consultation. At your dry eye consultation, your specialist Optometrist will carefully assess your symptoms and use various specialists tests, including scanning the layers of your tear film, infrared scanning of your glands and numerous other imaging techniques using the IDRA dry eye scanner, of which there are only a few in the UK. These advanced tests allow us to establish if you have dry eyes and what may be causing it and then recommend the best treatment. This tailored approach helps even for those who may have tried GP or hospital-prescribed drops or over-the-counter remedies before with little success. Due to cost limitations and lack of specialist diagnostic equipment, GP and hospital-prescribed dry eye treatments tend to focus on an approach where the same range of drops are recommended to each patient without carrying out the specialist tests necessary to establish which part of the tear film is effected and therefore which specific treatments are required. We receive referrals from GPs and other opticians whose patients have tried several treatments to no avail. Individualised treatment plans from ourselves can dramatically reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.
So even if you have tried prescribed or over-the-counter dry eye drops before with little success, Buchanan Optometrists can prescribe far more effective treatments which can alleviate your symptoms. Book into the dry eye clinic, and your dry eye specialist Optometrist will fully examine your eyes and develop a tailored treatment plan for you.
Your treatment plan will be carefully monitored and regularly followed up to ensure you remain on the best treatment.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry Eyes are often linked to other eyelid conditions such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis.
Meibomian gland dysfunction (one of the most common dry eye causes) is caused when the small glands on the top and bottom eyelids which secrete the oily part of the tears become blocked. This condition is often related to blepharitis, a condition which can cause scaly skin cells and even mites to gather around the root of the eyelashes, leading to inflammation, irritation and infection. Some over-the-counter treatments and drops can make these conditions worse rather than better, so self-prescribing is not a good idea.
There are many treatment options to help manage dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis and prevent future flare-ups. Treatments we recommend include combinations of special steam goggles, heat, massage, deep clean treatments, laser, punctal plugs, lubricating drops and gels. Quite often, we find that clients' current drops or treatments that they have from the GP or bought over the counter can make symptoms worse rather than better. Some treatments only work in combination with others, so a specialist assessment and tailored prescription can work wonders.
Latest new dry eye treatments
E-Eye. New E-Eye laser treatment can offer instant relief for persistent meibomian gland dysfunction E-Eye laser treatment can provide instant relief. You can read more about how it works and if you are suitable here.
Punctal Plugs. For more severe dry eye cases, Buchanan Optometrists are one of only a few optometrists in the UK to be trained to fit punctual plugs, which offer a more permanent solution to dry eyes, considerably reducing or eliminating the need for lubricating drops. Your optometrist will examine you to see if you are suitable to try punctual plugs.
Blephex. Stubborn cases of Blepharitis can be helped by new Blephex treatment, which deep cleans the lids for instant results.
Blephasteam. Blephasteam is a unique eyelid-warming device that provides moist and heat therapy to help relieve symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) and associated eye diseases such as blepharitis meibomitis, ocular rosacea, chalazion, contact lens intolerance and Dry Eye.
EyeCare Makeup. Designed for people with dry, sensitive eyes, contact lens wearers and those suffering from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis. All products are formulated to be free from animal ingredients and chemical additives known to cause allergies or intolerance. Recommended by allergy specialists, dermatologists and ophthalmologists, the products are free from parabens, lanolin, nickel, SLS, cobalt, essential oils and colophane. There really is no kinder way to look good and look after your dry eyes at the same time. It starts at just £6. Pop into the practice to try it out.
Remember, you do not have to live with dry eyes. If you have any of the following symptoms- dry, gritty, watery, itchy, burning, mucous discharge, photophobia (sensitivity to light), crusty lids or blurred or smeary vision, especially early and late in the day, you may have dry eye syndrome, blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and require a specialist examination.
Book into our Dry Eye Clinic so we can diagnose your problem and discuss the best treatments for you. Book your appointment today on 01634 757277.
New Spectacle Lens Reduces Dry Eye Symptoms
BlueControl lenses from Hoya neutralise the high-energy visible light emitted by LED and LCD screens and help your eyes feel more comfortable even when using digital devices for prolonged periods. The lenses have also been proven to help night driving and reduce dry eye symptoms while using the computer. They also have the added benefit of better contrast perception, scratch resistance, improved colour contrast, water, dirt and grease repellence. Here's what one of our patients said about their new lenses:
Alisdair asked if I would give feedback on the new blue technology lenses. I thought it time I did this as its been a few months since getting them.They are fab! I can see the computer screen so much more clearly than before and I find that my eyes are not getting as tired and irritated by the end of the day as they did before using these new lenses.
Another thing I have noticed, right from day one is that my eyes are kept warmer and therefore more moist. I am sure this helps lessen the irritation caused by using a computer screen. At last, itchy eye relief!
I would definitely recommend these lenses to anyone who, like me, suffer with dry eyes as my eyes have been generally much more comfortable since I got my new glasses.'
Find out more about blue control lenses here.
Top tips for contact lens wearers
Have you given up or never tried contact lenses due to dry eyes? Do you wear lenses but tolerate discomfort and blurring of your vision? You should not be able to feel a contact lens in your eye- ever. If you can feel it, chances are it is dry. Here are my top tips for contact lens wearers.
Have a dry eye check-up. What you do when you are not wearing your lenses is as important as what you do when you do wear them. If your eyes are dry when you remove your lenses and you wake up the next day with dry eyes, putting another contact lens in will only make the situation worse. Breaking the cycle of dryness by treating your eyes correctly when you take your lenses out can make a world of difference. It is also important that you are wearing the best type of lens. Ask your optometrist for the best lenses to help your dryness. As an independent optician, we can offer you any contact lens on the market and find the most suitable one for you. Most high street chains are limited to offering only their own brand or a selected group of other lenses. In reality, we are all different, and one lens does definitely not suit all. Contact lenses vary in the material they are made from. Certain materials offer enhanced wettability, reducing the amount of tears they dry from the surface of the eye. The size of contact lenses is also particularly important. If a lens does not move enough, it will dry and adhere to the surface of the eye. If it moves too much it will be uncomfortable. Having a lens correctly fitted can make a world of difference. The replacement schedule of lenses is also important. If you wear daily lenses you have a nice fresh lens each day; monthly lenses rely on thorough cleaning to avoid the build-up of deposits on the lens throughout the month, which can cause dryness and discomfort. The solution you use to clean lenses can also vary in its effectiveness in removing these deposits. Don’t second for second best- a change in the lens you wear can make a huge difference.
Andrew is one of my contact lens patients who only used to be able to wear lenses for 8 hours a day before they dried out and became uncomfortable. This was pretty inconvenient as his working day often lasted for 10 hours plus, and his type of manual work meant glasses were not a viable option. Following dry eye treatment and changing his contact lenses, he now wears them for 12 hours a day and has no dry eye symptoms at all. 'I used to suffer from really bad dry eyes when I wore my contact lenses, especially at work and actually thought I was going to have to stop wearing them at all. Since I tried these new ones my eyes are so much more comfortable, I don't even notice them. The dry eye drops I use at night are great, I really notice if I forget them. I'm so glad I changed lenses rather than giving up on them.'
Remember, you do not have to suffer – book a dry eye consultation today and forget about dryness.
For dry eye relief, book your appointment today on 01634 757227.
You can now also reorder your dry eye products online at www.eyestuff.co.uk
What our clients say about their dry eye treatment:
"Two years ago I was diagnosed with blepharitis and dry eyes. I was doing everything that I was told to do and throwing all sorts of medication into my eyes, but things were gradually and most definitely getting worse. My left eye had mucous across the surface of the eye, and my right eye was red and running like a tap. I had severe discomfort and pain in my Left eye that I can only describe was like having a red hot brick in my eye.
Coping with this on a daily basis was most definitely dragging me down physically and mentally. I didn’t feel that I wanted to go out and on occasions didn’t feel safe to drive.
I made the phone call, and due to my symptoms was offered an appointment the same day. I had a consultation with Alisdair who said ‘ we can sort this out for you’. Within a few days of me seeing him, the discomfort and pain had gone. It’s now two months since my first visit and my eyes look and feel so much better. In fact, several people have commented on how good they look." Christine Osbourne, dry eye patient at Buchanan Optometrists.
Eyes sorted, now what about your ears?! Buchanan Audiology Centre is now open. Applying the same principles of expert care, technologically advanced procedures, and the very best product choice that we have always offered in eye care has seen us set up one of the most technologically advanced hearing centres in the U.K. Read more HERE.