Oh Good – One In Three Of Us Suffers From This Eye Problem

You brush your teeth, wash your hair and scrub your face (or at least we hope you do!), but how much are you thinking about how well you treat your eyes? Unless you wear contacts or glasses, probably not as often as you should.

A recent study byThéa UKhas revealed that the number of people with a diagnosis of dry eye disease has more than doubled in the past year, and one in three people (34%) in the UK have received a diagnosis of dry eye disease, which shows that eye problems can be a lot more common an issue that you might think, especially with so many of us spending longer looking at screens for work and in our free time.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

“Dry eye disease is chronic, but treatable,” explains ophthalmologist, Dr Jovi Boparai, who founded the eye health and wellness brandCorneaCare. “The most common cause of dry eyes is meibomian gland dysfunction – the meibomian glands are found along the inner part of your eyelash line.

“The oil that’s supposed to be secreted from this gland can back up and leads to your tear film evaporating more quickly, decreasing lubrication of the eye and the onset of dry eye problems.”

Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid margins, can also be a cause of dry eyes.

Our lifestyles could also be having an effect: “The daily habits of increased screen time both for work and personal use, an increase in seasonal allergies, contact lens use and notable side effects of several oral medications like antihistamines, antidepressants and birth control pills can all have an effect on eye dryness, too,” says Dr Jovi.

What Can You Do To Help Dry Eyes?

We can all relate to that horrible feeling when your eyes are too dry and it almost hurts to blink, and that feeling can be painful and on-going without treatment. There are some quick fixes that can help, though, says Dr Jovi. “Making eye care part of your daily self-care is crucial. Your vision is your most important sense, so you’ve got to protect it.

“It all starts with eyelid hygiene. Keeping your eyelids clean and the oil glands inside your eyelids optimised is so important. I like to do a warm compress at the end of the day for 15 minutes before bed, an eyelid wipe in the morning and at night, and a cold compress for 5-10 minutes if your eyes are acting up throughout the day. You want to get into a routine and do these on a daily basis.

“The basic principles of treatment are education, implementation and consistency. A good treatment plan not only addresses your eyes, but takes into consideration your lifestyle and environment.”

As well as this, eye drops are often prescribed and aim to supplement and replace your natural tears and help keep the surface of the eyes lubricated, which can make the eyes feel more comfortable.

They can also prevent any damage to the front of your eye, which can happen if the eye is dry for a long time.

If none of these solutions are working, it’s probably time to book an eye appointment. Speak to your GP or local ophthalmologists like Specsavers, who can provide free eye tests, for more information.