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Dry eyes: Causes and treatment


24th Sep 2020 Health Conditions

Dry eyes: Causes and treatment

Five of the more common causes of dry eyes, and the best ways to relieve them. 

The importance of eyesight towards the overall wellbeing, independence and quality of life of an individual is too important to be ignored. Dry eyes are a common eye issue for many people and there are a number of reasons why you might be suffering from dry, irritated eyes.

Here, Parvinder Sagoo, the lead pharmacist and health advisor at Simply Meds reveals the reasons you could be suffering from dry eyes and also offers his expert advice for soothing them.


Your age

dry eyes of an older woman

Age is a huge factor behind why you might be suffering from dry, irritated eyes. If you are over 50 you may have noticed that along with your vision becoming increasingly worse, your eyes itchier, irritated and dry and it may become more uncomfortable as time goes on.

This is mainly due to the fact that elderly people often suffer from certain illnesses which can actually increase your likelihood to suffer from dry eyes, these include diabetes mellitus or rheumatism. Women who are menopausal also suffer from dry eyes due to the hormonal changes they're experiencing.  


Contact lenses

contact lenses

Contact lenses are a common cause of dry, irritated eyes, usually due to damaged contacts, contacts not being properly applied or lubricated, or an allergic reaction to the contact lenses solution.

Allergies such as pollen and dust may also collect underneath the contact lenses and could cause the eye to become irritated and itchy. If your eyes are particularly dry and irritated whilst using contacts, try to switch to glasses until the irritation subsides.


Too much screen time

a young woman working on her laptop

Staring at a screen for several hours a day can also cause dry eyes. Switching from computer screen to phone screen to iPad can have a huge impact on our eye health and not only cause irritated eyes but may also promote cluster headaches from eye strain.

The reason why your eyes become dry whilst looking at a screen is that the tears coating the eye actually evaporate more rapidly due to long non-blinking phases.

Try to limit your screen time, and if you have to work on a screen take regular breaks to give your eyes a break.


Your environment

city pollution

Environmental factors play a huge part in your eye health. Heating, air con, humidity and lack of fresh air will all contribute to dry eyes. This is especially true in the hot summer months when we have aircon on, or in the winter when the heating is on more often.

Pollution, pollen and dust can also aggravate the eyes, so if you are living in a highly populated city, or journey on the tube often you might find your eyes dryer more often.

Hayfever season may also cause your eyes to become itchy due to pollen and dust particles entering the tear duct and causing your eyes to itch.


An underlying condition

Having prolonged dry or irritated eyes can also be a sign of an underlining health condition such as blepharitis, Sjogren’s syndrome or lupus so if you are suffering from dry eyes and no treatment options are working for you then you must visit your GP who will be able to get to the root of the problem and advise treatment options.


How can I soothe dry eyes?

eye drops

There are a few ways you can reduce dry eyes. The first thing would be to limit screen time or take regular breaks from the screen, this is important for those who have jobs which require them to spend long hours looking at a screen and this should help to keep eyes normal and moist.

Try not to touch or rub your eyes too often. There are a number of reasons people may rub their eyes; out of habit, if they are tired, stressed or sometimes having dry eyes can promote people wanting to rub or itch the area however this can cause more damage.

If your eyes remain dry and sore, try to wash your eyelids and lashes with warm water which should help to get rid of any particles which may have entered. If you are travelling on public transport or out and about and find your eyes irritated when you get in, ensure you properly clean your eyes with warm water to remove any environmental particles.

a woman closing eyes, relieved from soreness

Eye drops are a great way to help alleviate any discomfort and to keep eyes moist and healthy. You want to opt for an eye drop which actually works to keep the area moist for longer periods of time. There are a number of eye drop options available at Simply Meds, including Systane gel eye drops which provides instant relief for dry eyes.

If your eyes do not get any better after the above, you should book an appointment with your GP who will help get to the root of the problem and advise other treatment options. 

Simply meds are currently offering same-day delivery for the London and Essex areas.

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