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Our tears, and the film they form over our eyes, serve a very important function in keeping our eyes comfortable, healthy and able to see well. It’s only when we don’t have enough tears or they are of poor quality that the surface of our eye becomes exposed and become uncomfortable.
Tear film problems are often referred to as ‘dry eye disease’. This is sometimes a confusing name as ‘dry’ eyes can often be quite watery, so a more appropriate name is ocular surface disease.
Ocular surface disease occurs when we either have too few tears or, more commonly, when we have enough tears but they are of poor quality.
Ocular surface disease is often linked to blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids and the glands that produce the lipid layer of the tear film.
This can feel different for everyone but the common symptoms are:
• dry, tired feeling eyes
• stinging, burning or gritty sensation
• red eyes
• blurry vision that can be variable through the day and when we blink
• not producing enough tears or having excessively watery eyes.
There are many causes which include:
• advancing age
• hormone changes
• laser eye surgery
• medications including antihistamines and beta blockers
• contact lens wear
• spending time in a dry environment
• blepharitis of which there are a variety of types including demodex blepharitis
• general health conditions such as thyroid eye disease, arthritis and Sjӧgren’s syndrome.
The route to managing dry eyes properly is to have consultation that diagnoses the type of dry eye you have. Understanding this allows us to develop a tailored management plan for you. This diagnosis requires expertise and specialist equipment that GPs and pharmacists don’t have and can only be done properly at an optometrist or hospital eye service.
At Shrewsbury Optometry, we have specialist experience in treating ‘dry’ eyes. We see many patients who have suffered with the effects of dry eye for many years and who have tried and failed to relieve their symptoms. We have a specialist Dry Eye Clinic, where we provide ongoing treatment to patients with this uncomfortable condition. Using the many treatments at our disposal, we work hard to find the most suitable management plan for each individual who seeks our advice.
1. Discuss your symptoms with you and complete a questionnaire to allow us to grade your condition and monitor your progress with treatment.
2. Assess both the amount of tears you produce and the quality of the tears using cutting edge technology including infra red meibography.
3. Assess the eyelids, including looking for signs of eyelid problems.
4. Make a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
5. Review you at an appropriate schedule to monitor progress with treatment.
We have a wide range of treatments available depending on your case. They include:
1. Lifestyle advice
2. Dietary modifications
3. Eyelid hygiene treatment with heat packs, deep lid cleans and bleph ex treatment
4. Artificial tear drops
5. Prescription only medications
6. Moisture chamber goggles
7. Punctal occlusion (plugs)
8. Lacrimal syringing
9. Treatment for demodex blepharitis
10. Specialist contact lenses
1. An initial appointment with our optometrists to diagnose and make a treatment plan.
2. A review phone call after two weeks.
3. A review appointment usually within three months.
4. Dry eye is often a chronic condition which can take time to recover and may require long term maintenance so many people will need ongoing review on a three to six-month basis. This will be discussed with you at your first visit and when making your treatment plan.
In England the NHS eye examination covers a basic first line dry eye assessment but where this is ineffective, specialist assessment and treatment must be paid for privately.
The initial consultation is £150 and takes about an hour. Depending on your recommended treatment plan, you can then either choose to pay each time you visit, or alternatively due to the ongoing nature of dry eye problems, many choose to join our Vision+ plan. Vision+ is the best way to ensure optimum care for your eyes and for us to be able to review your eyes appropriately ensuring the best results.
For those who opt out of Vision+, any subsequent follow up appointments would be charged at £55 per visit.
Three monthly replacements of punctal plugs costs £95 per visit including the replacement plugs.
To make an initial appointment please contact the practice on 01743233486 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org