Apart from causing the eyes to water, Dry eyes have lots of other symptoms such as itching, grittiness, burning, blurring, stabbing pains, dull aches, redness and sticky discharge. There are several types of Dry Eye and it depends which component you are deficient in as to the type you have. This can also be related to associated eyelid conditions such as Blepharitis or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Blepharitis is due to a bacterial colonisation of your eyelid margin. The bacteria feed off any crusty build up or dead skin cells and then what they produce as a by-product gets into your eyes and disrupts the tear film – causing a secondary Dry Eye.
This can be treated by either Lid wipes, Hot compresses or the Blephex treatment
Meibomian Gland dysfunction is basically the blocking of the oil producing glands in your eyelids. The oily component to your tearfilm is essential to having a healthy protective tear barrier, and if it is reduced then you get increased evaporation of the watery component, leading to dry spots on the eyes and it causes the tears to run off your eye too. Treatment is usually in the form of hot compresses like a microwaveable eyebag followed by massage with a clean finger. The idea is that by heating up the glands, the waxy plug at the gland opening melts and then with the massage you are able to clear the blockage and get the glands producing oil again.
Meibomian Gland dysfunction can also be the cause of Styes or Chalazion and the treatment is similar.
Sometimes the Dry Eye is actually due to not making enough tears and if that is the case then lubricant drops can ease the symptoms. If you need to use drops very regularly then we can use tiny plugs to seal the lower tear ducts, reducing the drainage of tears from your eyes. Whilst this does not always cure the dryness symptoms, it can mean that you reduce the quantity of lubrication required to a more manageable amount.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatment is an in practice procedure that effectively treats and can manage Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and the causes of Dry Eye. Ask your practitioner for details.