Dry Eye – a condition with many confusing symptoms

Did you know that when your eyes are constantly watering, it may be that they are compensating for a condition known as ‘Dry Eye’? It’s a common complaint that often spikes in winter as cold winds dry out the eye’s surface.

The condition can have an array of other symptoms including, but not limited to, general eye irritation, soreness, and (not surprisingly) a dry, scratchy feeling.

What causes Dry Eye? Every time you blink, a protective layer of moisture called the tear film coats the front surface of your eye. An essential part of that tear film is an oily layer called meibum. When the meibomian glands that produce meibum get blocked, or the secreted meibum is poor quality, then the aqueous part of the tears can evaporate.

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease that can sometimes be quite debilitating. Since Dry Eye symptoms can be caused by many things, an over the counter eye drop might provide some temporary relief but is unlikely to fix the problem. An Optometrist can check your eye surface and eyelids accurately and provide a customised plan to treat the cause which may include medicated eyedrops..

At Kerikeri Optometrists, we have specialised equipment to test the tear quality of your eye (see below). The ideal Tear Break Up Time (TBUT) for an eye is 10 seconds. Anything below 5 seconds is classified as a Dry eye.  As Accredited Ocular Medicine Prescribers, Anita Pistorius and Jason Kumar can prescribe medicated eye drops to treat infections, disease, and conditions such as Dry Eye. Click here to arrange a consult with Anita or Jason.

Below you can see the surface of an eye before and after treatment of Dry Eye. As you can see there is a significant improvement in coverage of the tear film