What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
According to the NHS, dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when the eyes don’t make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, which can then lead to them becoming irritated, swollen and red.
We need tears to lubricate our cornea, which is the clear, dome-shaped outer surface of the eye. With each blink, our tears spread across the cornea and nourish its cells by providing a layer of liquid protection from the environment. When we are unable to produce enough of these tears, our eye health and vision can be affected.
What Are The Symptoms of Chronic Dry Eyes?
The severity and causes of dry eye disease can vary considerably, however these are some of the most common symptoms you should watch out for:
- Eyelids that stick together when you wake up
- Temporarily blurred vision, which on most occasions will improve when you blink
- Burning sensation and red eyes
- Feelings of soreness, dryness and grittiness that gets progressively worse as the day goes on
What can cause dry eye syndrome?
Chronic dry eye syndrome is a result of your complex tear production being disrupted, which can occur for a number of reasons. Your chances of developing this disease increases with age, with it estimated that one in every three people over the age of 65 suffer from dry eyes! Women are also more prone to this disease than men,
Other than your age and gender, other causes of dry eyes include:
- Wearing contact lenses
- Being in a hot or windy climate
- Hormonal changes in women – for example if you are taking a contraceptive pill, experiencing menopause or are pregnant
- Long periods of time spent looking at a screen
- Side effects of medications such as antidepressants, beta-blockers and antihistamines.
Chronic dry eye syndrome can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as blepharitis, which is the inflammation of the eyelids. It’s important then that you contact your eye doctor or GP if you are experiencing what you think might be dry eyes.
Dry Eye Relief
- Closing your eyes for a few moments – This will help replenish your tears and get them spread evenly across your eye. Blinking repeatedly for a few moments should help too
- Eye drops – This will lubricate the eyes. Make sure your eye drops are prescribed by a doctor
- Surgery (if necessary) – A procedure is possible to prevent tears draining away so easily
Jennifer Aniston’s top tips on what to do if you have dry eyes
First on Aniston’s list to help reduce any discomfort caused by dry eyes is to cut down on screen time. Whether it’s your phone, computer, tablet or smartwatch, this actress emphasises that it ‘definitely affects our eyes’. If you really can’t bare the thought of reducing your digital time, she suggests investing in an anti glare gel protector to place on your screens to help reduce your exposure to the harshness of the light and the impact it has on your eyes.
For those that love their make-up, this next tip may come as a bit of a struggle. Jennifer recommends that if your eyes are particularly sensitive, beware of ‘sparkly eye shadows and certain mascaras’ as they could irritate your eyes and increase your discomfort. Nobody, let alone someone with chronic dry eyes wants chunks of glitter falling into their vision.
Combine our medical advice with this A-lister’s pointers and you should be on your way to enjoying a life of healthy, happy vision.