Skip to main content
Home » Vision & eye health » Simple steps in daily habits can help prevent rising cases of dry eye disease

Mr Sajjad Ahmad

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

Craig Wallace

General Manager, Santen UK and Ireland and EMEA Head Commercial Operations

Reviewed and Sponsored by Santen

Eye specialists are encouraging people of all ages to take preventive steps in reducing the risk of developing dry eye disease.

Ophthalmic specialists note a trend toward younger patients with dry eye disease (DED). They point out that if people notice symptoms, they can take steps to keep their eyes hydrated and prevent the condition from becoming more serious.

Disease spectrum

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Sajjad Ahmad explains that dry eye is a spectrum of conditions where symptoms include dryness and grittiness — through to the eyelid sticking to the surface of the eye — and has a range of causes.

“There are patients with very mild disease and those who have severe disease, but it is a condition to take seriously,” he says. “Some causes are from features related to patients, such as time in front of screens or wearing contact lenses for long periods or from environmental factors like sitting under air conditioning.”

There are patients with very mild disease and those who have severe disease, but it is a condition to take seriously.

Younger patients

The increasingly common condition no longer affects just older people, says Ahmad, primarily due to computer use.

“It is a condition that impacts the quality of life,” he says. “Some patients wake up in the morning — when the eyes are driest — and cannot open their eyes until they put lubricant drops in.”

If there is little improvement from eye drops, he says people should seek medical attention.

Dry eye can also trigger an immune response and lead to inflammation, which is a further indication of the condition worsening. Ahmad warns that untreated dry eye can affect vision and lead to infections of the cornea that can cause scarring. It can even cause a perforation on the surface of the eye in severe cases.

Dry eye can also trigger an immune response and lead to inflammation, which is a further indication of the condition worsening.

Proper eye care

If people are referred to an ophthalmologist, the first stage of treatment is lubricants, gels or ointments. If that does not resolve the issue, an anti-inflammatory may be prescribed.

Since there is no cure for dry eyes, using eye drops is an effective and convenient way to manage symptoms, particularly if they are mild. These contain moisturising ingredients to replenish the quantity and quality of tears.

He says people can self-manage dry eye in the early stages with eye drops, gels or ointments from a pharmacy. “The choice can be overwhelming, but the most important thing is to make sure you are not using anything that can be detrimental to the surface of the eye and the products are preservative-free.”

“It is important to take DED seriously, as once established, it is not something that just goes away; it tends to persist unless there is an intervention,” says Ahmad.

Day-to-day changes

The Covid-19 pandemic also has had an impact on eye health. Poorly fitting masks that misdirect ventilation may cause evaporative dry eye. Pandemic restrictions and NHS pressures have affected patient access to ophthalmic services.

With services still focusing on severe eye diseases, he encourages patients to take preventive steps, limit screen time, seek help from optometrists and pharmacists and be aware of their environment.

The recent ‘DED services in the era of Covid-19’ report from specialist ophthalmic pharmaceutical company Santen in collaboration with a panel of experts, examines how new approaches to supporting patients with dry eyes could be helpful and the importance of patient education in improving eye health. The report looked at virtual consultations as well as credible online resources as ways to support patients.

Stay informed on dry eye

The OcuWellness website gives patients fact-checked information and regular articles to support people in maintaining their eye health, and also allows them to purchase Cationorm®, Santen’s new clinically proven treatment to help relieve symptoms of dry eye.

Craig Wallace, General Manager of Santen UK and Ireland says: “As a specialist ophthalmic company, we are always looking for ways to support patients living with eye disease and the healthcare professionals who treat them.”

Cationorm®, developed by Santen, is a first-of-its-kind eye drop that acts like the body’s natural tears to provide long-lasting relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes. Find out more:

Sajjad Ahmad does not endorse Cationorm or any other prescription/OTC products.

Job code: CATION-UK-220037
Date of preparation: September 2022

Next article