Medical Q&As

Dry eyes - what to do?

I am in my early fifties and notice that my eyes have been getting increasingly irritated for the past few months. They feel OK in the mornings but as the day progresses they get sore and blood shot. What could be wrong?

It would be worth visiting your optician in order to have your eyes examined. It sounds to me as if you have dry eyes and your optician can easily confirm this. Tears act as a lubricant on the front of the eye and they allow the eyelids to glide up and down on the front of the eyeball as we blink. I suspect that your tear sacs are not producing sufficient amounts of tears, which results in a friction effect as the eyelid rubs off the eyeball. This explains why the eyes become progressively more irritated as the day goes on. Typically a sufferer from dry eyes is relatively comfortable in the morning time because the eyes have been closed during sleep and the eyelids have not been blinking periodically. It is not possible to increase the amount of tears being produced by the tear sacs therefore it is necessary to supplement the volume of tears by adding artificial tears periodically during the day. There are also special eye lubricants available that can be used at night before going to sleep. The artificial tears should alleviate the friction effects that are giving rise to your current discomfort.