Managing Dry Eye | Causes & treatments

Dry eye is a common eye condition that can really impact how you see the world. Read on to learn more about its causes and, most importantly, effective treatments to keep your eyes feeling refreshed.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye, also known as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when the quality of your tears is compromised. Tears play a crucial role in maintaining the health and comfort of your eyes. They lubricate the ocular surface, reduce the risk of infection, and provide essential nutrients to the cornea.

Common causes

  1. Age: Dry eye becomes more prevalent as we age because tear production tends to diminish over time.
  2. Environmental factors: Exposure to dry or windy conditions, air conditioning, and heating can evaporate tears more quickly, leading to dryness.
  3. Screens: Blinking keeps the eye surface humid and hydrated. However, extended screen time can reduce the frequency of blinking, so the tear film is not spread across the entire cornea causing the eyes to become dry and irritated.
  4. Medical conditions: Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases, can increase the risk of dry eye.
  5. Medications: Some medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants, can affect tear production. 


Effective Dry Eye treatments

While this condition can be uncomfortable, there are treatments available for managing Dry Eye and alleviating symptoms. At John O’Connor Optometrists, we recommend the following treatments:

  1. Warm compression: Start with warm compression therapy using a wheat bag for about 10 minutes. This helps to stimulate the production of natural oils in your eyelids.
  2. Eyelid cleaning: Use an antimicrobial sterilid spray on a cotton wool pad to gently clean your eyelids and eyelashes daily. This step is crucial for removing any debris or bacteria that may contribute to dry eye.
  3. Manuka Honey Eye Drops: Optimel Manuka Honey Eye Drops are a natural and effective way to soothe dry eyes. Apply these drops three times a day for relief.
  4. Eye lubricants: Eye lubricants, such as eye drops or gels, used during the day help to keep eyes moist and comfortable.
  5. Lifestyle adjustments: Try taking regular breaks from screens, using a humidifier in dry indoor environments, and protecting your eyes from windy or dusty conditions.

At John O’Connor Optometrists, we’re all about clear vision and good eye health. If you’re suffering from symptoms of dry eye, such as itching, burning, redness, or a gritty sensation, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our expert optometrists. We can assess the severity of your dry eye and provide recommendations for managing dry eye and ongoing eye care.

With a legacy spanning back to 1978, we’ve been helping New Zealanders see the world better. Our commitment to exceptional patient care, quality eyewear, and reasonable prices is what sets us apart.

To make an appointment to come and see us at our Newmarket or Henderson optometry practices, please call us today at 09 522 1283 or 09 836 1731. We look forward to helping you see the world with clarity and confidence.