The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) is focusing on the impact of dry eye syndrome for people with glaucoma during International Glaucoma Week 4 to 10 June 2018. Dry eye syndrome can have a debilitating effect on a person’s quality of life yet is little understood. Dry eye syndrome affects 50 to 60 per cent of people with glaucoma and one in three people over the age of 65. It is a disorder where the eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This can make eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritated or watery, and feel heavy and tired by the end of the day. In severe cases people report pain, discomfort and depression, and its impact has been compared with that of angina, dialysis and disabling hip fractures.
Commenting on the campaign, Karen Osborn of the IGA says: “Dry eye has an adverse impact on quality of life, with people saying that they cannot read, find the sunlight painful, feel unhappy and can’t even open their eyes long enough to do certain daily tasks. We want to encourage anyone who has aggravating dry eye symptoms to seek the advice of their pharmacist or GP and it is important that people with glaucoma raise any dry eye symptoms with their ophthalmologist as a change of glaucoma treatment to a preservative free eye drop often helps to reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome”.
Glaucoma affects around 700,000 people in the UK and the majority of people will initially be treated with medical eye drops. Managing both dry eye and glaucoma effectively is important, but challenging. Both conditions are long-term but manageable.
What are the most common symptoms of dry eye?
- Heavy tired feeling of the eyes
- Difficulty reading or working on the computer
- Blurriness of vision
- Excessive watering of the eyes
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Stinging or burning of the eyes
- A sandy or gritty feeling in the eyes
- Pain and redness of the eyes
Tips to help
Drink lots of water which helps tear production
Get enough sleep
Avoid alcohol and spicy foods
Avoid smoking and smoky areas
Wear glasses or sunglasses on windy days
Avoid air-conditioned environments and draughts
Consider using a humidifier
Blink more frequently when using a computer screen or reading
Look away from computer screens every 30 minutes
Download the free IGA Dry Eye Syndrome Leaflet for more information.