Treatment for dry eyes

People with dry eye either don’t make enough normal (lubricating) tears or the ones that they make are of poor quality, causing the tears to dry up too quickly and the front of the eye to become dry and irritated.

I have a question about treatment for dry eyes

What is dry eye disease?

If you have dry eye disease, the surface of the eye is dry. This can make it feel gritty and very uncomfortable – for example when you’re staring at a screen - as you’ll blink less.

The function of a blink is to sweep your tears from the upper outer corner to drain into the punctum. If you're not blinking as much, the ocular surface is not getting the lubrication it needs.

What is treatment for dry eyes?

Treatment for dry eyes consists of using artificial tear drops during the day and possibly some ointment to use last thing at night. People with dry eye either don’t make enough normal (lubricating) tears or the ones that they make are of poor quality, causing the tears to dry up too quickly and the front of the eye to become dry and irritated. As a result, dry eye can be uncomfortable and cause the eye to produce the watery type of tears. This only helps for a short time – leaving the eye uncomfortable and gritty. Dry eye doesn’t tend to cause serious damage to the eyes, but it can be very uncomfortable. Severe cases do have a risk of causing long-term damage, but fortunately these are rare.

What happens during treatment for dry eyes?

This consists of artificial tear drops to use during the day and possibly some ointment to use last thing at night. Different types of artificial tear drops can be bought over the counter at the chemist without a prescription (they are less expensive than a prescription charge), so you need never run out of drops.

You will need to use the drops quite often at first and then gradually reduce the frequency to just a few times a day to keep your eyes comfortable. You will eventually be able to judge how often you need to use them.

Why would I have treatment for dry eyes?

You may have the treatment if you suffer from dry eye - a common eye condition affecting one in four people in the UK.

What should I expect after treatment for dry eyes?

As the drops are used to relieve the symptoms and are not a cure for the condition, you will probably always need to use them.

Miss Elizabeth Hawkes

Watch our oculoplastic surgery webinar

If poor vision is stopping you from enjoying what you love, we can help. Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon, Miss Elizabeth Hawkes and Eye Unit Sister, Jane Styche talk about treatments for eye and eyelid conditions.

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