Dry Eyes: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Causes  |  Symptoms  |  Video FAQs  |  Treatment

We need tears to keep our eyes wet and protect them from dust and other stuff that shouldn’t be there. Dry eye happens when we don’t have enough of these tears, or the tears aren’t of a good enough quality to protect our eyes. Many people get dry eyes. Read on to discover the symptoms of dry eye and what you can do about it.

What causes dry eyes?

Your tears should consist of oils, mucus, and watery (aqueous) fluid. Too much or too little of one of these elements can lead to dry eyes.

Dry eyes can be caused by:

  • Windy, dry air
  • Medications such as antidepressants and acne treatments
  • Contact lens use
  • Air-conditioning and heated rooms
  • Certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome 
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction or blepharitis
  • Staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods, especially if you aren’t taking breaks

You are more likely to experience dry eye symptoms if you are a woman or over 50 years old. 

Following laser eye surgery, you are also at risk of dry eyes. Find out more about laser eye safety and its risks here.

Dry eye symptoms

Dry eyes and dry eye symptoms can be unpleasant. Your eyes may feel swollen and you might have problems seeing.

Once you know you have a dry eye condition, you can treat it.

The most common symptoms of dry eye are:

  • Itchy, red eyes
  • A scratchy feeling
  • Stinging or burning in your eyes

Other common symptoms include:

Dry eye treatment

When we have established that you have dry eye, we will be able to help you treat it.

Dry eye can be quite simple to treat, with options such as eye drops, gels and ointments. 

You can make some lifestyle changes to help your eyes get back to normal such as:

  • Adjusting your computer so you can directly look at the screen
  • Resting your eyes by taking breaks from activities that cause you to strain your eyes 
  • Getting enough sleep at night
  • Reducing contact lens wear
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to help with eye health and dry eye syndrome.

If your dry eye is severe and other treatment options haven’t helped, then some of our procedures might be better for you. Temporary, or longer-lasting tear duct plugs (punctal plugs) are one option. These plugs prevent tears from draining down your tear duct.

Depending on your needs, your eye specialist may also suggest meibomian gland expression, BlephEx or IPL therapy.

Learn more about dry eye treatments we offer or read our in-depth blog post on IPL treatment for dry eyes.


Book an appointment

Dry eyes can lead to inflammation, eye damage, and infections, so pay attention to dry eye symptoms. 

Book an appointment with our eye specialist to receive a thorough assessment of your eye. 

We will arrange any necessary tests to determine the cause of your symptoms so you can make an informed decision about your eye care.

Contact us

0330 128 1616

Our clinic sites are regulated by
The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

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