IMPACTS ON THE INDIVIDUAL & SOCIETY
❗ Significantly reduced Quality of Life indices similar to patients with severe angina or renal dialysis
❗ Can be linked to depression and further individual, societal, and health care costs
❗ Lost work productivity costs to businesses and the economy
❗ Cost on the health care system DED economic burden of $330.5 million per year in Australia
All symptoms differ from patient to patient depending on the severity and subtype of dry eye disease
❗ Fluctuating vision and visual blurring - You may find that your vision changes when you blink, or vision may start off clear and then become blurry after 10 minutes of reading/watching TV/driving
❗ Sore eyes - The eyes may feel a mild irritation, foreign body sensation, grittiness, watery, tearing, dry, stinging, or burning
Dryness, grittiness, watery-ness, irritation anybody? This is a standard question that I ask all patients, as I know all too well that dry eye is a progressive condition when left untreated.
The prevalence of dry eye disease (DED) is reported to be up to 73.5%, particularly in those over the age of 40 according to American studies. DED is increase in Australia due to our ageing population. The 2016 Australian Census showed that 34.1% of our population was aged 50 years or older, and the 2003 Blue Mountains Eye Study revealed that 57.5% of Australians over 50 experienced at least one dry eye symptom.
However, DED is not restricted to those 50 and up. The increasing use of digital devices, resulting in reduced blink-rates has driven dry eye levels in all age groups.
Although DED is not a blinding condition, it can have a huge effect on quality of life, as well as economic impacts for the individual and on society.
We are fortunate that treatment options are now plentiful! At Carina Eye Care, I offer entry-level dry eye treatment options that are natural, conservative, and have enjoyed much success for my patients.
Treatment options include:
Lubricant eye drops Hylo-Forte is my number one recommended lubricant drop due to its gentle nature, non-preserved, and in a specialised pump bottle that allows for an appropriate amount of lubricant to moisturise the surface of your eye.
Oil-based eye drops NovaTears is a wonderful adjunct drop that I recommend for those with evaporative dry eye whereby any moisture in the eyes evaporates almost immediately. NovaTears allows for an additional oil component to be added to the eye, to keep the eyes moist and comfortable for much longer.
Optimel Manuka Honey Gel is a fantastic product that is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, with studies that show an improvement in evaporative dry eye after a month's twice-daily use. This formulation is only available at select optometry practices (not pharmacies), and stings upon insertion.
Tea tree oil-based lid wipes OUST wipes and foam treatments are a specially formulated eyelid cleansing products that kills the mites that live on our skin which wreak havoc with our eyelids and cause irritation that is worse in the morning.
Hot compresses using specially designed eye masks are available to heat up the glands in your eyelids to improve meibomian gland dysfunction or evaporative dry eye.
Lid debridement is a procedure is designed to remove any keratinised or dead skin cells on the surface of your eyelid that are impeding the ability of your oily tear glands to secrete the natural moisturiser from your eyes.
Expression of meibomian glands is a procedure is designed to remove the unhealthy blocked up oils from your glands to allow for the healthy oils to come through and improve your eye comfort.
Moisture chamber glasses (Ziena) are designed with replaceable silicone compartments that are attached by magnet. The silicone creates a moisture chamber environment where the eyes are protected from wind and dust to improve comfort for the dry eye patient.
Hypochlorous Acid (also a natural treatment, and a gentler alternative to Sterilid Eyelid Cleanser)
Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) is the most common disinfectant used across medical, industrial, and domestic use. Pure HOCl is produced as an element of human immune response as neutrophil white blood cells respond to pathogens in the body, neutralising toxins and inflammatory mediators. Therefore, hypochlorous acide is a natural and gentle way to eradicate bacteria on and around the eyelids. Despite being such a natural and gentle product, it is surprisingly potent with broad spectrum and rapid antibiotic activity. Where it is useful in eyecare is for treating dry eyes, hordeola, irritated eyelids from blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction. This product can be easily added to a daily wellness routine.
Studies have shown that increasing your omega-3 intake can help improve the quality of your tears and decrease inflammation. There is conflicting evidence on exactly what formulation is best but you can start simply with eating more natural sources of omega 3. Lacritec is a high-quality, pharmaceutical grade omega-3 supplement that you can take if changing your diet is a bit tricky for you.
1. Oily fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, and trout are great sources for omega-3! Mussels are a bit of a treat, and great for your eyes too! Krill oil may potentially provide even better results. Alternatively, you can take omega-3 supplements from your local pharmacy, or purchase some specifically designed for dry eye treatment online such as Lacritec and DryEye Forte.
2. Chia seeds are another great source, as well as flax seed oil for those looking for a vegan option, and also to strike a balance between fish-derived omega-3 and plant-derived omega-3. Chia seeds can be purchased from your local health food shop, online, or from the big supermarkets like Woollies, Coles , Aldi, and CostCo! Start with just one tablespoon a day.
This study shows that just one tablespoon of dry chia seed per day can improve the tear film. Please note that this study was done on normal patients without dry-eye as there is currently a limited amount of research on chia seeds specifically.
Contact Dr Carina Trinh by emailing email@example.com, sending a text to or calling 0423 590 959.
You can also contact her over Facebook or Instagram #carinaeyecare.
Please make sure that you book an appointment if you plan to visit Carina Eye Care at 40 Neich Parade, Burwood NSW 2134.