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Suffering from dry, burning, red eyes? This eye care regime may help

15 Apr 2019
Suffering from dry, burning, red eyes? This eye care regime may help News image

By Tim Michael

About 20 percent of Australian adults suffer from dry eyes, according to the Optometrists Association of Australia.

And up to 48 percent of office workers could experience dry eyes, due to their long exposure to air-conditioning and computer screens, the Association says.

Dry Eye Disease is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye.

Older adults, post-menopausal and pregnant women and individuals who wear contact lenses are also prone to dry eye.

Chronic eye conditions such as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and dry eye disease are on the rise in Australia. These are among the most common reasons people see an optometrist.

However, many people are in the dark when it comes to the importance of regular eye hygiene.

‘Good eye health is often ignored’

“Why do you brush and floss your teeth?” asks Optometrist Jim Kokkinakis from The Eye Practice in Sydney.

“Not just because your parents taught you to – you’re preventing serious dental disease that can be crippling – both physically and financially. So, why do people often wait until something goes wrong with their eyes before taking care of them?”

Good eye health is often ignored, Dr Kokkinakis says.

“Too much screen time on electronic devices, exposure to air conditioning and using make-up that has become contaminated are some common mistakes,” he says.

“Dismissing symptoms such as dry, burning, or red can lead to the development of larger issues that can end up becoming costly to treat.”

Dr Kokkinakis says symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Dry, itchy or red eyes
  • The feeling of a ‘foreign body’ or sand in the eye
  • Crusting of eyelashes (particularly on awakening); flaking of the skin around the eyelids
  • Burning or excessive watering of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light; blurred vision

Latest clinical reports recommend a three-step program

While most people with symptoms will go in search of eye drops experts believe drops alone will not always solve the issue, particularly for blepharitis sufferers.

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids, indicated by sore, red eyelids and crusty eyelashes. It can be caused by a bacterial infection. It can also be a complication of a skin condition such as seborrheic dermatitis, which causes an itchy rash on the skin. Rosacea, which leaves the face appearing red and blotchy, is another cause.

Blepharitis affects people of all ages, ethnicities, and gender, but it is more common in people over 50 years of age.

A new dry eye report recommends a three-step eye care regime to help keep eyes healthy and well-moisturised. The report, which took two years to complete, involved 150 experts from 23 countries.

The regime – which is 100% preservative-free – involves heat, cleansing and hydration.

 And the good news is, this three-step procedure is now available in Australia and can be carried out simply at home:

1.     Moist Heat Therapy: The Opti-Soothe® Moist Heat Mask provides the recommended 10 minutes of controlled moist heat. The comfortable and convenient mask is designed to retain heat, soothe the eyes, and help relieve symptoms of Dry Eye, Blepharitis, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, and styes. It’s easy to use, 25 seconds in the microwave is all it takes, and it is washable and reusable.Opti-Soothe-heat-mask

2.     Cleanse: Cleaning the eyelids by removing debris from the affected area is crucial. Opti-Soothe® Preservative Free Eyelid Wipes (unlike other wipes on the market) features four key ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Hyaluronic Acid to moisturise, and Chamomile and Aloe Vera to soothe.

3.     Hydrate: It is important for people choose the most appropriate drop, as no dry eye is the same. Preservative-free options include HYLO-Forte® for severe or chronic dry eye, HYLO®-Fresh for mild to moderate dry eye, and NovaTears®, which is specifically designed for the relief of evaporative dry eye disease.

These products are supplied by AFT, a multinational pharmaceutical business, and are available at all good pharmacies.

“Information is key,” says Dr Kokkinakis. “It is important for people to understand that regular eye health maintenance is crucial, and it’s all the better if they get into the habit – before they present with a severe eye disease.”

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