Modern approaches to Dry Eye management recognise that the experiences of individuals affected by this common condition can vary widely. These variances are seen in the way people describe their symptoms: dry, itchy, tired, aching, blurry or watery are just some of the ways Dry Eye is described by sufferers. But its not just these physical symptoms which are increasingly being recognised – there is also a growing acknowledgment of the emotional impact of Dry Eye has on our quality of life.
A study published in the British Journal of Medicine (BMJ) compared people with and without Dry Eye symptoms. Within the study’s findings was a reduced score for socio-emotional aspect life in the group with Dry Eye who were more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. These findings supported an earlier study whose findings suggested that suffering Dry Eye increased feelings of disappointment, frustration, and embarrassment due to reddening of the eyes and instilling eye drops. Self-esteem was also affected, particularly in women who were unable to wear make-up or contact lenses.
Feeling embarrassed about your eyes may very well reduce your ability to make eye contact and the way people relate to you. Eye contact, or lack of it, impacts on how we are perceived by others in all sorts of situations including job interviews, gaining attention in restaurants and bars, getting your point across to others and making those special connections.
Here are the Dry Eye Zone's 5 top tips for restoring eye confidence
Tackle those Dry Eye symptoms - this is an important first step in giving you the confidence to look the world straight in the eye. Your eye care professional will have given you a personalised routine that will address your specific needs. As well as eye drops this might include heat therapy and antimicrobial cleansing. Whatever the routine make sure you follow these as directed to gain maximum benefit.
Bring your eye drops with you – don’t wait until the symptoms start. Regularly use your drops throughout the day and keep dry, tired eyes at bay. Many people leave their eye drops in the bathroom and get caught out, make sure you take yours with you. Some eye drops, such as HydraMed, come in handy daily dose vials which contain enough solution for the day and fit neatly into your pocket or purse.
Regularly rest your eyes – be kind to those hard-working eyes by taking regular breaks from digital work. If you are a slave to your screen then follow the 20-20-20 rule, that’s look away from your computer every 20 minutes by looking at an object around 20 feet away for 20 seconds – it’s simple and it works. You could even take resting your peepers to a new level by closing your eyes and gently massaging your eyelids by rolling your fingers towards the edge of the eyelid as you move from the corner out towards the ear.
Choose your make-up carefully. It can be very tempting to pick up the most convenient or cheapest mascaras and eyeliners available but think again, many of these will contain harsh preservatives and chemicals which make your symptoms worse. The Dry Eye Zone has eye-friendly alternatives you might want to consider.
Frame your eyes with luscious lashes – there is now a restorative eyelash serum which has been developed with Dry Eye sufferers in mind. Eyelash loss is a symptom of ongoing dry eye conditions such as MGD and blepharitis but many of the serums available contain ingredients which will aggravate Dry Eye.
If you are experiencing persistent feelings of dry, tired or sore eyes then seek the advice of your eye care professional.
Hossain P, Siffel C, Joseph C, et al
Patient-reported burden of dry eye disease in the UK: a cross-sectional web-based survey
BMJ Open 2021;11:e039209. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-039209
Mertzanis P, Venkataraman K, Begley, Chalmers R. ARVO Annual Meeting December 2002
The Impact of Dry Eye on Daily Life: Results from a Qualitative Study
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science December 2002, Vol.43, 74. doi:
Koike T, Sumiya M, Nakagawa E, Okazaki S, Sadato N. What Makes Eye Contact Special? Neural Substrates of On-Line Mutual Eye-Gaze: A Hyperscanning fMRI Study. eNeuro. 2019 Feb 28;6(1):ENEURO.0284-18.2019. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0284-18.2019. PMID: 30834300; PMCID: PMC6397949.