Dry Eye Disease and Blepharitis

Dry eye disease (DED) is common, causing your eyes to be sore, tired, irritated, red or blurry. Sometimes it can feel as though something is actually in your eye like a bit of grit.

 

“My eyes are watery, but I’ve been told they are dry…I don’t understand!”

Sometimes, dry eyes will react by producing more tears. Unfortunately, they are not good quality tears. This means they don’t coat your eyes nicely and instead stream out, causing your eyes to be watery.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of DED:

  • Evaporative:

    • Your tears aren’t of good enough quality, and evaporate too quickly

    • This is the most common type of DED

    • Often related to environmental factors or inflammation of the ocular surface

  • Aqueous deficiency:

    • Your eyes don’t produce a sufficient volume of tears

    • Less common

DED is often associated with blepharitis, which means “inflammation of the eyelids”. This is also very common, and treating this is a key aspect of any dry eye management plan.

Unfortunately, neither DED nor blepharitis can be permanently cured. However, effective treatments are available and long-term maintenance is crucial.

 

Treatment for DED may include:

  • Artificial tear drops (drops without preservatives are usually preferable)

  • Eyelid hygiene to treat blepharitis and promote a better quality of tears

    • Warm compresses (simple hot flannel, or commercially available microwaveable bag) and lid massage

    • Eyelid scrubs to eradicate any debris or bacteria

  • Tear duct plugs – to stop your tears draining and keep them on your eyes for longer

  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops or ointments

  • A course of antibiotics (ointments and / or tablets) to eradicate bacteria and reduce inflammation

  • Serum eye drops – for severe cases unresponsive to other therapies