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dry and
irritated eyes

Dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivis sicca,
is a common cause of eye irritation. 

Dry eyes can
affect anyone

But the condition is more common among older people, as the tear glands tend to become less productive with age.

What is dry eye syndrome? - When you blink, a tear film inside each eyelid spreads tears over the front of the eyes, keeping them lubricated. Dry eyes can occur if there is a problem with the tear film. The condition does not lead to permanent sight damage.

CB_AC_Item1_528x241_SryEyeSyndrome_oldman-eyes_Sized.jpg How to spot it - The condition usually affects both eyes. As well as feeling dry and irritated, the eyes may look red, feel gritty, or experience a burning sensation. A slight blurring of the vision or light sensitivity may also occur and the eyelids may stick together when waking up. Contact lenses are likely to feel uncomfortable.

How does it happen - The following factors can lead to dry eye syndrome.
  • Some medications may dry the eyes as a side-effect
  • Some illnesses, such as arthritis, might cause dry eyes. People with thyroid problems may be unable to close their eyes fully, even when sleeping
  • Exposure to air conditioning, central heating or windy conditions
  • Damage to the eyelids (e.g an eye injury)
  • Inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis)
  • Contact lenses


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Treatment - Dry eye syndrome can be treated with artificial tears (eye drops or gel) or eye ointment, available over the counter at pharmacies but it is always best to check with your optician. Contact lens wearers should check which products they can use.

Over-the-counter remedies should resolve dry eye syndrome within about a week; complications are unusual. If symptoms persist, see a doctor or eye care professional for prescription medication, and to check there is not a more serious condition.

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! TIPS

Computer users take note

Apply the 20-20-20 rule. After every 20 minutes, take a break for 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away.

Following this rule will help prevent short-sightedness and eye fatigue.

Did You Know?
Natural Defenders

Our eyes have 'built in' defence mechanisms.

For example, when you squint, you are protecting your eyes against glare. And your eyelids naturally close and your pupils constrict in bright light, to restrict the intake of strong light.