Dry eye really relates to patients who come in describing symptoms of maybe stinging or a dry sensation on the narrow eyes particularly when reading or watching TV for extended periods of time when they’re not blinking as frequently.
Usually, the problem is related to the quality of the tears on the surface of the eye rather than not actually producing enough tears.
This is a problem particularly for elderly patients because the quality of the tears does decline with time and that’s largely related to the component of the tears that’s produced by glands in the lids, the openings for which are just behind your eyelashes.
The oil produced by those glands is usually deposited on the surface of the eye but as you get older, the oil gets a bit stickier and starts to interfere with the quality of the tears and causes the tears to break up on the surface of the eye more rapidly.
The solution to that is usually very simple. Patients can either use hot compresses, apply those to their lids for five minutes daily or they may need to supplement their tears with tear supplements and eye drops that can be bought from your chemist.
For varied occasion, it does require the input of a clinician to ensure there’s nothing more serious going on to make a detailed examination of the lids and the surface of the eye and to manage it appropriately. Sometimes, that might involve a course of antibiotics either for the surface of the eye or orally.
Sometimes it may involve prescribing a short course of drops that is designed to reduce the inflammation on the surface of the eye and get things back under control for the patient.