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Q&A With Dr. Allaway on Dry Eyes

Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe during the winter months? 

Dry eye is dependent on environmental conditions.  The lower the humidity, the drier your eyes will feel.  The winter months are typically drier and colder, hence the increase in dry eye symptoms.


Q: When should someone come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms? 

Any time they feel that their dry eye is causing them discomfort or other issues.  Dry eye is very frequently a cause of reduced vision as well.


Q: What do you check in order to assess whether a patient is suffering from Dry Eyes? 

We would assess the quality of the tears (how oily they are), the functionality of the eyelid oil glands, and any damage they might have to their corneas.


Q: What are the common treatments that you use in order to help people suffering from Dry Eyes? 

Lifestyle changes (more blinking, less computer time, better ergonomics); environmental changes (humidifiers, avoiding windy areas, protective eyewear); non-prescription recommendations (Omega 3 fatty acids, hot compresses and lid massage, an appropriate artificial tear); and prescription solutions (topical steroids or prostaglandins) if necessary.


Q: My eyes frequently are overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it? 

Yes it usually is.  Watery eyes are often caused by poor tear chemistry (insufficient oily layer) which prevents the tears from staying in their eyes.


Q: Are there certain people that are more prone to having Dry Eyes? 

Our tear chemistry and oil gland function tend to deteriorate with age so our eyes tend to get drier as we age.  Any history of eye surgery will also increase your likelihood of having dry eyes.


Q: Do you have any recommendations for people to help them avoid Dry Eye issues? 

Omega 3 supplements and good eyelid hygiene will both help minimize dry eye.



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Thank you.

The Shuswap Optometric Team