'Dry eye is a very common condition, affecting up to 40% of the population at some time in their lives. The condition causes irritating symptoms such as gritty feeling eyes, irritation, burning, itching, blurred vision, eyes sticking together at night and sometimes watery eyes. It can also make people feel very self-conscious and interfere with daily activities. I continually see patients in my clinics who feel they have tried everything for their dry eyes to no avail and it often gets them down. If we can help improve their symptoms we can also improve the quality of their lives. Our dry eye clinics have helped thousands of people improve their symptoms, we have launched this online shop to enable quick, easy access to some of the specialist products we recommend.'- Kathryn Buchanan, Dry Eye Optometrist

Dry eye is caused by a problem with your tears. When you blink you leave a thin layer, called the tear film, over the front of your eye. The tear film keeps the front of your eye healthy and it also helps the eye focus properly, giving you clear vision.  Tears are made up of three parts- lipid, water and mucus. If the tear film balance is incorrect the tears do not stick to the eye, they evaporate and dry out more quickly. If you don't produce enough tears, if your tears aren't of the right quality or your tears aren't spread across the front of your eye properly then you may develop dry eye.  Conditions such as blepharitis (an inflammation of the eye lids) and meibomian gland dysfunction (blockage of the oil secreting ducts in the eye lid) can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye is worth treating, even if you feel you can live with the symptoms. A dry surface to your eye, a little like dry skin, makes you more prone to infections such as cysts, styes and conjunctivitis. If you receive treatment early it can stop further damage to your eyes. Long term dryness can cause ulceration of the cornea and scarring, so it is best treated long before it gets to this stage.

Dry eyes can be affected by many factors including environment, occupation, age, laser surgery, hormones and the weather.

Certain conditions such as arthritis, thyroid problems, Lupus, Sjogren’s and certain medications can cause dryness.

You may also be more prone to dry eye if you wear contact lenses, read a lot or work on a computer. But the good news is that you do not have to live with the symptoms.

Although many mild cases of dry eye can be treated with over the counter products, more persistent cases require specialist help. The product descriptions on this website indicate who the drops may be suitable for, but in the case of more problematic dry eyes we recommend a specialist dry eye assessment at the dry eye clinics at Buchanan Optometrists.

The tear film is a complex structure and needs to be properly assessed before treatment can be targeted to stop dryness at the root cause, rather than just trying a range of drops to treat the symptoms, which may never work. At Buchanan Optometrists dry eye consultations your specialist Optometrist will carefully assess your symptoms and use various specialist tests to establish if you have dry eyes and what may be causing it and then recommend the best treatment. This tailored approach helps even for those who may have tried GP prescribed drops or over the counter remedies before with little success.

We receive referrals from GPs and other opticians whose patients have tried a number of treatments to no avail. Individualised treatment plans from ourselves can dramatically reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.

Here's what one of our patients, Mrs Dodgson said about her dry eye treatment from Buchanan Optometrists "Thank you very much for what you have done for me, I cannot put a price on it. Before the treatment, I could hardly open my eyes because of the dryness. I couldn't drive the car or watch the television and I was at my wits end because the doctors, opticians and hospital consultants offered no help and left me thinking that there was nowhere else to turn. You have given me back my life and for this I am extremely thankful."

Book into the dry eye clinic and your dry eye specialist Optometrist will fully examine your eyes and develop a tailored treatment plan for you. Your treatment plan will be carefully monitored and regularly followed up to ensure you remain on the best treatment.

Dry Eyes are often linked to eye lid conditions such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis.

Meibomian gland dysfunction is caused when the small glands on the top and bottom eye lids which secrete the oily part of the tears become blocked. This condition is often related to blepharitis, a condition which can cause scaly skin cells and even mites to gather around the root of the eye lashes, leading to inflammation, irritation and infection.

Blepharitis is the medical term for inflamed eyelids. The inflammation is like eczema of the skin, with red, scaly eyelids.

There are many treatment options to help manage dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis and prevent future flare ups. Treatment often involves cleaning the eye lids with special products (such as Blephaclean and Blephasol) to clear away any lipids and debris which can block the meibomian glands and irritate the lids. Using a special application of heat (EyeBag) and massage helps the glands secrete more lipid. Regular treatment can help reduce the need for ocular lubricant drops. Artificial lubricants may be suggested to be used throughout the day. Many lubricants are available and the right one needs to be recommended for your specific problem. We usually recommend a preservative free lubricant to reduce irritation to the eyes over long term use.

For more severe dry eye cases, Buchanan Optometrists are one of only a few optometrists in the UK to be trained to fit punctual plugs which offer a more permanent solution to dry eyes, considerably reducing or eliminating the need for lubricating drops. Your optometrist will examine you to see if you are suitable to try punctual plugs.

Remember, you do not have to live with dry eyes. If you have any of the following symptoms- dry, gritty, watery, itchy, burning, mucous discharge, photophobia (sensitivity to light), crusty lids or blurred or smeary vision especially early and late in the day, you may have dry eye syndrome, blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and require a specialist examination.

Book into our Dry Eye clinic so we can diagnose your problem and discuss the best treatments for you. Book your appointment today on 01634 240645 or visit our website.