Schedule your appointment within
Custom Eyecare Newcastle
THE DRY EYE CLINIC
At Custom EyeCare Newcastle.
For other services visit:
9.00 – 5.30
9.00 – 5.30
9.00 – 5.30
9.00 – 7.00
9.00* – 5.30
9.00 – 1.00
*10am Last Friday of the month
The Dry Eye Clinic Newcastle
The Dry Eye Clinic Newcastle is located within Custom EyeCare Optometrists. We have a special interest in the diagnosis, management and treatment of dry eye disease.
What is dry eye?
“Dry eye”, sometimes known as Dry Eye Syndrome or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, is a common problem. Dry eyes is a condition where the tear film normally coating the eye is not produced correctly and cannot perform its important role in nourishing and protecting the eye.
Dry Eye is incredibly common, affecting up to 60% of the population over 50. For many people it’s a mild inconvenience, but for some people it’s incredibly disabling. Dry Eye can cause quite significant pain or discomfort, often having a significant effect on one’s quality of vision.
Our natural tears have many important roles, besides letting everyone know you’re feeling sad! Tears are important for providing the surface of your eye with water and oxygen to ensure the cells stay alive and healthy. Tears are also important for ensuring the surface of the eye is nice and smooth. If there are bumps, cracks or dry spots on the eye surface, your vision can blur. Tears help to wash away all of the dust and debris from the atmosphere that get caught in your eyes. If there were no tears to wash away debris, eyes would collect dust like window sills. Tears are also full of natural bacterial fighting enzymes to keep all the bugs away from your eye to prevent infection. Find out more about dry eye here.
The tears have 3 main layers;
- A mucous layer that acts like glue to stick the tears onto the eye
- The main watery layer that is full of nutrients for hydrating and keeping the surface of the eye healthy
- The oil layer on the top to make sure that the watery layer does not evaporate or dry up in the wind.
There are many environmental and lifestyle factors, as well as medical conditions and medications, that can affect the production of the three important tear layers.
You need all three layers to be present for the eye to feel comfortable, and the layers need to be in the right balance. The eye gets very upset when the balance of tear layers isn’t quite right, causing a wide range of symptoms.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
Everyone experiences dryness differently. Symptoms can include tired, scratchy, sandy, sore, red, burny, itchy or irritable eyes. The eyelid margins may become red, swollen and inflamed. Your vision can also fluctuate with blinking. Confusingly, dryness may also lead to watery eyes. Dry eyes may have crusty buildup/discharge when you wake up, causing the eyes to feel stuck together. The true underlying cause of all of these symptoms is a poor quality tear film.
What are the treatment options for dry eye?
Artificial tear supplements are one of the treatments we can use for short term relief of these symptoms. Artificial tears often work by replacing components of the natural tears that are missing. Balancing up the layers can help to settle down an irritated dry eye and reduce symptoms.
As Dry Eye tends to be very unique to each patient, an individualised approach to choosing artificial tears will bring the best results. Book an appointment at the dry eye clinic within Custom Eyecare Optometrists Newcastle to discuss the range of drops available and which will be best suited to your eyes.
There are also other treatments for long term management which are often used in addition to lubricating artificial tear drops. These treatments aim to stop dry eye at its core, often reducing reliance on daily drops.
Gland expression, eyelid hygiene, warm compresses and steam goggles are additional treatments for dry eyes. Most of these treatments aim to restore normal function of the upper lid, facilitating release of the oily secretions on lid closure and allows the tears to resurface. By unblocking the meibomian glands, tear quality is improved reducing the symptoms of dry eye, which in turn has positive benefits for eye health, vision and comfort.
Using technology, your optometrist can assess the health, stability and function of the tear layer, to identify and treat the root cause of the dryness.