Well, by becoming sore, scratchy, burning and dry, but with occasional blobs of goo floating about. My night vision was affected, as was my near focus. Light sensitivity and eye fatigue bothered me and they were always bloodshot. My optician recommended varifocal lenses for my glasses which did help with reading but not with any of the discomfort or sensitivity.
How is likely to be affected?
This is a common problem and you are more likely to be affected by a dry eye condition if you are
- A woman. Hormonal changes can affect tear production i.e. pregnancy, hormonal medication including contraception, the menopause, etc.
- Getting older. Tear production can diminish as you age, over 50 being the benchmark. Get ready for drying out like an old prune you old biddy! I joke, ageing is not all bad.
- Wearing contact lenses or ancient mascara, or not cleaning your eye make-up off properly at night.
- Eating a nutrient-poor diet that is low in omega 3 and vitamin A. This means oily fish, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables rich in colour like carrots and spinach.
What causes dry eyes
Teardrops are made up of a careful combination of mucus, oil and water and any imbalance in the makeup of tears can result in dry eyes. Under-production can cause tears to fail to be secreted or to evaporate too quickly. Another complication is that any of the little ducts that release mucous, oils or water can become blocked, increasing the risk of conditions like blepharitis, styes or infection.
What can you do?
For immediate topical relief you can simply replace the missing tears with eye drops.
- A.Vogel eye drops contain both eyebright and hyaluronic acid. Eyebright is a herb that can act like first aid for the eye, antiseptic and soothing, reducing inflammation and soreness. Hyaluronic acid improves the hydration of the eye as well as maintaining sufficient tears, reducing tear elimination.
- A.Vogel Eye Drops Extra Dry has double the amount of hyaluronic acid so is extra soothing and longer lasting.
- For extra assistance, Eyebright tincture can also be used to treat sore eyes from the inside out. The herb has been used since the 17th century to help maintain healthy eyes.
- Try to adjust your diet to make up any lack in good omega 3-rich oils and vitamin A-rich foods like carrots and green leafy veg; the more coloured vegetables you can include the better. If you struggle to include omega 3-rich foods like chia seed, avocado and oily fish like salmon into your diet get a good quality supplement. My personal favourite is Eskimo Oil - I find the liquid better.
Blocked tear ducts
If you suspect that any of the oil or tear ducts are blocked, you may suffer from styes or blepharitis which cause the eye lids to become sore or have a red bump that can be painful. In this case the blockage may have caused an infection.
Gently press a warm clean facecloth to the eyes a few times a day and gently massage the edge of the lids with your clean finger tips, working from your nose outwards beneath the lower lids and from the outside edge towards the nose on the upper lids. This small treatment applied gently can work very well. You can also use heated pads – available from opticians.
When should I go to my doctor
There are circumstances when it is definitely good to visit your GP or optician - we love our eyes, after all, and vision is definitely worth taking care of!
- If you suspect it may be as a result of another medical complaint.
- If you are worried or can't see why your eyes might be dry.
- If your vision is affected.
- If your eyes are painful.
- If the white of your eyes has changed colour.