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Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. This leads to the eyes drying out and becoming red, swollen and irritated.
Dry eye syndrome can occur when the complex tear production process is disrupted in some way. There are many different reasons why this can happen, although a single identifiable cause often can’t be found.
Common causes include:
Although the condition may affect people of any age, your chances of developing dry eye syndrome increase as you grow older. It’s estimated up to one in every three people over the age of 65 experiences problems with dry eyes.
Dry eye syndrome isn’t usually a serious condition. As well as medical treatments, there are some things you can do yourself to help prevent dry eye syndrome or reduce the symptoms.
Keep your eyes clean!
Good hygiene will help improve dry eye syndrome, particularly if you have blepharitis. There are three main ways you can maintain eyelid hygiene. These should be performed once or twice a day:
Sometimes the tips above for good eyelid hygiene aren’t enough to keep symptoms under control. There are many dry eye treatments available over the counter to help relieve the symptoms, which include:
Although dry eye syndrome may be uncomfortable, it doesn’t usually cause any serious problems. The two main complications associated with dry eye syndrome are:
Contact your optometrist or GP, or visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department immediately if you have any of the following symptoms, as they could be a sign of a more serious condition: