Experiencing dry eye symptoms? Here are 5 compelling reasons to get over to your optometrist
The Dry Eye Zone was created by a team with decades of experience in eye care in order to support independent eye care practitioners and their patients. The Dry Eye Zone provides useful background information on dry eye and easy access to a best-in-class portfolio of dry eye products. If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, and you have not already done so, book that appointment with your optician. An eye examination is not just for when your vision quality is compromised - it is a health check for your whole body. There is no substitute for regular check-ups to help keep your eyes healthy and your dry eye under control – but it is also about an awful lot more!
REASON 1 – Getting the best vision you can
It might surprise you but 60-70% of your eyes focusing power comes from your tears. Insufficient quantity or poor-quality tears will result in an inadequate tear film and an unstable visual quality. This means you will not be getting the best from your new designer glasses or contact lenses. If you screw your eyes up and your vision temporarily improves this could be an indication of dry eye. To get the best vision possible your practitioner will want to work on managing your dry eye too.
REASON 2 – Get a proper diagnosis
Experiencing sore, tired feeling eyes is not exclusive to dry eye. It is important that your eye care professional makes a proper diagnosis to avoid any other problems going undetected. Eye care practitioners, especially those with an interest in dry eye, will have specialist tools to confirm that you actually do have dry eye. They will be looking for a range of factors but most importantly: a higher-than-normal salt concentration to your tears, certain inflammatory indicators, reduced tear volume and meibomian gland functionality.
REASON 3 – Addressing the underlying causes
After establishing that you are actually suffering from dry eye your eye care practitioner will then set about establishing the root cause of your dry eye symptoms. Dry eye disease can have many underlying causes, and depending on the cause, the recommended treatment will vary. If the root cause is evaporative dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) then heat therapy and/or eye lid cleansing may well be recommended. However, if aqueous deficiency is the primary driver of the symptoms other options that treat the underlying cause will be evaluated. Either way artificial tear drops such as HydraMed can provide valuable relief whilst not actually treating the cause.
Image via Canva:: Healthy human retinal examination
REASON 4 – Make sure there are no other eye problems
If dry eye is managed properly you can usually prevent it developing to a more serious level. But the eye examination is not just about dry eye. Many eye conditions show no symptoms in their early stages, this means you may not be aware you a serious problem until your vision is affected. Like many health complaints, early detection will give you the best chance of a good outcome. Furthermore, for some sight threatening conditions, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, prevention is the only cure.
REASON 5 – Get an early warning sign of other non-eye related health problems.
When your eye care practitioner looks inside your eye they are actually looking inside your body without the need for invasive blood tests or examinations. They can actually see your blood vessels, connective tissue and nerve fibres. This look deep into the body can reveal things that mean you may also be able to get an early indicator of other potentially dangerous conditions. The American Association of Ophthalmologists published a list of 20 such diseases which included high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and even a brain tumour. It would not be an overstatement to say that an eye test could actually save your life.
To get maximum security you should have an eye examination at least every two years. This way there is more chance small changes will be detected and an early intervention made possible.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article then you should ask the advice of your eye care professional. Why not book your next eye examination with an independent optometrist today.
Jones L, Downie LE, Korb D, Benitez-Del-Castillo JM, Dana R, Deng SX, Dong PN, Geerling G, Hida RY, Liu Y, Seo KY, Tauber J, Wakamatsu TH, Xu J, Wolffsohn JS, Craig JP. TFOS DEWS II Management and Therapy Report. Ocul Surf. 2017 Jul;15(3):575-628. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2017.05.006. Epub 2017 Jul 20. PMID: 28736343.
American Association of Ophthalmology. 20 Surprising Health Problems an Eye Exam Can Catch
By Reena Mukamal. Reviewed By Rebecca J Taylor, MD. Apr. 29, 2022
The WHO World Report on Vision. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/documents/publications/world-report-on-vision-accessible-executive-summary.pdf
The Mayo Clinic. Patient Care & Health Information
The Royal College of Optometrists. The Eye Examination.
Schaneman J, Kagey A, Soltesz S, Stone J. The role of comprehensive eye exams in the early detection of diabetes and other chronic diseases in an employed population. Popul Health Manag. 2010 Aug;13(4):195-9. doi: 10.1089/pop.2009.0050. PMID: 20465530.