Expert shares six indications that dry eye could lead to ‘concerning eye problems’

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“Latest eye health research shows that almost three in five adults now suffer from dry eye syndrome,” said Marchetti. Although symptoms may appear to be a slight irritation, it could lead to more severe and long-term effects. “Dry eye is a vicious cycle arising between the tear film and the surface of the eye, known as the cornea,” Marchetti explained. “The tear film sitting on top of our cornea is made of distinctive layers, which form the natural barrier that lubricates and protects the surface of the eye.”

Marchetti said that when eyes are “overused, or there is a lack of blinking”, the tear glands don’t produce enough tears to lubricate the eyes.

“When this eye action fails, dry spots appear on the surface of the eye,” she pointed out.

Dry eye syndrome can make driving and reading uncomfortable, and you may become more sensitive to light.

“As a consequence, concentration can also be affected,” said Marchetti, which means you could be a danger to other people on the roads.

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“This is why it is important to act when you notice any symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome,” said Marchetti.

“If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can become severe and can lead to concerning eye problems,” she warned.

Marchetti elaborated: “As well as causing inflammation of the eye and vision problems, dry eye can also lead to abrasion of the surface of the cornea.”

Even a painful “open wound” can appear on the cornea, known as a cornea ulcer.

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A cornea ulcer

Specsavers pointed out the symptoms of a cornea ulcer, which include:

  • Feeling of something in your eye
  • Grey or white spot on the cornea
  • Eye inflammation or redness
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Eye discharge
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit your optician or GP as soon as possible.

“It is even possible that severe dry eye could result in a corneal transplant,” said Marchetti.

“If the cornea is too damaged from scarring, or from eye infections, a new cornea may be required.”

The NHS explained that a corneal transplant is an operation to remove all or part of the damaged cornea, and to replace it with healthy donor tissue.

To help prevent dry eye syndrome from escalating to such drastic complications, it’s important to keep your eyes well lubricated.

Marchetti recommends Rohto Dry Aid eye drops that have been designed to tackle dry spots.

Keeping your eyes lubricated can help prevent:

  • Dryness
  • Soreness
  • Itchiness
  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Grittiness
  • Stinging
  • Tiredness.

Marchetti said: “Many people suffer one or more of the main symptoms of dry eye, but they don’t realise they have the condition.”

While keeping your eyes lubricated with drops, she also suggests regular eye examinations, taking regular screen breaks, and drinking plenty of fluids.

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