Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when the eyes don't make enough tears, or because the tears evaporate too quickly.

Dry eye can cause symptoms including:

  • Eyes feeling dry / gritty / sore
  • Red eyes
  • Temporary blurring of vision, which usually improves when you blink
  • Watering eyes – this can occur if the eye tries to relieve irritation by producing more tears.

There are many different reasons why dry eye occurs and common causes include:

  • Age: dry eye can affect people of any age, but is more common as you grow older
  • Gender: dry eye is more common in women than men
  • Being in a hot or windy climate
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis)
  • Side effects of certain medications e.g. antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers and diuretics
  • Hormonal changes in women e.g. during the menopause, pregnancy, or while using the contraceptive pill

As there are a variety of causes of dry eye, your Optometrist will recommend the treatment most suitable for your eyes. Common methods of managing dry eye include:

  • Environmental changes e.g. reducing the temperature of central heating, avoiding drafts and air conditioning.
  • Wearing glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind.
  • Eye lubricants, which lubricate the eyes and provide extra moisture.
  • Keeping your eyelids clean and treating any inflammation (blepharitis)
  • Improved diet and/or nutritional supplements e.g. omega-3 fats.