At our practices, we often come across patients with ocular hyperaemia (red eye), discharge and discomfort. This is primarily managed with ocular lubricants, over-the-counter remedies and remedial eyelid hygiene. For patients who are not entitled to exemptions from NHS charges, we can prescribe ointments and eye drops via signed orders.
We find that the majority problems leading to red eyes are not from infections, but often allergic/seasonal conjunctivitis which would not benefit from anti-biotic medication.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
• People over the age of 60 are the most common group to suffer
• Hot, dry or windy climates – causes evaporation of tears
• Inflammatory diseases – e.g., Rheumatoid arthritis affecting the joints is associated with higher risk of dry eyes.
• Side effects from medications – e.g., the oral contraceptive pill
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?
There is no absolute ‘cure’ for dry eye syndrome. However, most people can get significant relief from symptoms using a variety of treatments and measures.
Lid Margin Hygiene
If the underlying cause is blepharitis or lid margin disease, then treating this can often improve the ocular surface and reduce symptoms.
Some people recommend cleaning the eyelid with a solution of baby shampoo missed with water, but more often than not, this can cause ocular surface irritation, and so at least initially, is best avoided.
Alternative methods include using a warming compress, such as EyeBag®, or cleansing daily with a commercially prepared aqueous solution such as Blephasol®.
Regular lubrication in the form of gels or drops can help keep the surface of the eyes wet, and thus reduce symptoms. Often, this is combined with lid margin hygiene.
There are a wide range of eye drops available – consult your Optometrist, GP or ophthalmologist for advice on which to use.
For a full dry eye and red eye assessment book an appointment at your nearest practice.