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Treating Dry Eyes - What You Should Know

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

Are your eyes dry? Do your tears dry out quickly? Perhaps your eyes aren’t producing enough tears, or the tears your eyes produce don’t have the right composition? Dry eye problems can either be temporary or chronic (with an underlying condition) and you may experience dry eyes, for example: in a room which is regularly air-conditioned or even when you’re out riding your bike.

There are times when it’s not possible for a person to produce enough tears or literally any tears at all, and the eyes and tear ducts can dry up. This can lead to the distressing eye condition called dry eye syndrome; so when the eyelids become swollen, the oil from your oil glands can't reach your tears.

Crying is usually a natural emotional response for men and women and after all it’s a natural reaction when someone gets upset or experiences pain, for example when attending a funeral or spraining an ankle. Some might say it’s never good to cry but having that ability to cry has such remarkable health benefits for the eyes.

Tears are produced from the tear ducts which are located inside the corner of each eye. What do tears contain? Tears are made up of a balanced mixture of oil, mucus, water, as well as infection preventing antibodies. All of these combine to play a crucial role in keeping your eyes lubricated and healthier.

By going ahead with specific dry eye treatments and expert dry eye management at a dry eye clinic it is highly possible to enjoy a life free from dry eyes and eye drops. Of course, you will have concerns, questions, and expectations before you select a dry eye specialist. Here you will discover everything you need to know about dry eyes, dry eye causes, dry eye syndrome, how IPL (Intense Pulse Light Therapy) is used to treat dry eyes and the important things you need to know.

Dry Eye Syndrome and Dry Eye Causes

What exactly is dry eye syndrome? Also known as dry eye disease, dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition across the UK. Your eyes may water more & you may not produce either enough tears or the right quality of tear formation to provide the eye lubrication needed.

The use of appliances such as air conditioning and heaters can create a very dry environment which can dry out the tear film from the eyes. Repeated exposure to dry air outside can also cause concerning dry eye issues.

Consuming certain medications, including antihistamines, can also contribute to the occurrence of dry eye syndrome. Also, inappropriate use of contact lenses may lead to corneal damage or dysfunction, which can ultimately lead to symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

Excess Tear Evaporation and Dry Eyes

Excess tear evaporation is one of the commonly known causes of dry eyes. This complication arises mainly when the meibomian glands become clogged and blocked.

Dry eyes can also be caused by Vitamin A deficiency and allergies which affect the eyes.

An underlying condition is not always seen to be the cause of dry eyes. Dry eyes can be caused by:

· Being in and around dry air too often

· The eyes don’t blink as often as they should

· Women who experience hormonal changes such as menopause

· Spending a lot of time using computers

· Hormonal changes during pregnancy or when using the contraceptive pill

· Use of certain medications

· Contact lenses use

· Aging

· Laser eye surgery

· Medicines used to lower blood pressure

Common Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

There are many symptoms connected to the condition of dry eye syndrome or dry eyes. Below you will see some of the main symptoms to be aware of prior to seeking medical advice from a specialist dry eye doctor:

· Sore gritty eyes

· Itching or irritation in the eyes

· Continuous eye pain

· Blurred Vision which resolves only after blinking

· Enhanced sensitivity to light

· A tickling sensation in the eyes

· Eyes watering – the eye tries to relieve the dryness by watering

· Eyes are red and dry

· Burning eyes

If you should experience any or all, of the symptoms mentioned above, it would be advisable to consult with an ophthalmologist straight away so a full diagnosis & treatment plan can be arranged.

How Can You Get Some Temporary Dry Eye Relief?

Firstly, it is essential that you find out if you have an underlying condition and have those treated to relieve your symptoms. Fortunately, you can effectively alleviate symptoms of dry eyes and these suggested methods may help you:

· Drink water and stay hydrated.

· Maintain the cleanliness of your eyelashes and eyelids.

· Wear sunglasses

· Consider using eye drops for dry eyes or artificial tears or other products such as gels, sprays, and ointments you can get over the counter.

· Avoid hot & dusty places.

Dry Eye Syndrome and Reverse Tearing

When the chemical composition of tears (water, mucous, oil, and antibodies) is not in the correct ratio there is not enough lubrication for the eyes and dry eye syndrome occurs.

Caused by an imbalance in the tear system and poor-quality production of tears dry eye syndrome causes blurred vision, eye irritation, and a lot of visual discomfort.

Where dry eyes cause a reduction in tear formation, an eye condition called ‘reverse tearing’ has the opposite effect and produces too many tears. The eyes become irritated to a point where they receive too much lubrication. Reverse tears contain mostly water, so it won’t help to cure dry eyes in any way at all.

Essentially, oil is regarded as a crucial moisturising component within natural tears, and it is usually absorbed at a much deeper level by the tissues of the eyes.

Dry Eye Complications & Associated Risks

There is a high probability that without treatment, tear instability will lead to the surface of the eye becoming damaged and inflamed. So, if you suffer from a severe dry eye condition, you're more likely to have further complications if you were to leave everything untreated.

Complications include:

Keratitisinflammation of the cornea (the cornea is the clear tissue that covers the iris and the pupil). This is a rare eye condition and can develop into something more serious if it's not treated quickly by a dry eye specialist.

Conjunctivitis – this is transmitted through direct contact with the eye. Conjunctivitis is caused by an infection (bacterial / viral) or from an allergic reaction. The eye has a swollen red appearance. The transparent (white) covering of the eye & the inner surface of the eyelid is inflamed and itchy.

Ulcers – A healthy cornea is needed to protect the other parts of the eye from germs and contaminants. An eye infection can cause an open sore on the cornea. An ulcer on the cornea happens rarely, but it can develop into something more serious if it’s not treated quickly.

Best Dry Eye Treatments to Have

Now you have a real insight to dry eye here you will find a selection of dry eye solutions:

1. IPL (Intense Pulse Light Therapy) - You can stop using eye drops

This advanced dry eye treatment works by unblocking the blocked meibomian glands (tear ducts).

Having IPL will remove the need for long term use of eye drops and will reduce the chance of inflammation occurring around the eyelids. IPL will increase the amount of moisture and tears in the eyes.

IPL treatment for dry eyes is extremely effective and it’s the most effective dry eye solution being used today (2022). IPL is proven to treat dry eye syndrome (dry eye disease).

2. Stimulate the Production of Artificial Tears

Eye drops for dry eyes (eg artificial tears) stimulate & enhance the moisture content of the eyes. This method often requires regular usage of eye drops and is a common option for treating dry eyes without having IPL.

3. Punctal Plugs and Punctal Occlusion

Punctal plugs - also referred to as tear duct plugs and Lacrimal plugs - are devices that are placed into the tear ducts of the eyes to block the ducts. This enables the surface of the eye to be kept comfortably moist and prevents the drainage of liquid from the eye. After this procedure, regular use of artificial tears drops is usually necessary.

Punctal occlusion is a painless procedure, used to block the tear ducts. Blocking the ducts reduces the number of tears that drain away from the eyes, and therefore more tears become available to moisten the front of the eye. A dry eye specialist won’t block the gland that produces your tears.

4. Medicines used for Dry Eye

If you should notice unusual or out of the ordinary dry eye symptoms, a wise approach would be to consult with an ophthalmologist straight away. Medicines commonly used for chronic dry eye are:

• Lifitegrast (Xiidra)

• Cyclosporine (Restasis) - anti-inflammatory

Both types of eye drops are used to treat dry eye syndrome and they mainly function by improving the production of tears. On occasion an eye doctor may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops.

Some antibiotics have been found to stimulate oil production in the glands around the eyes if dry eye has been caused mainly by inflammation. So anti-inflammatory antibiotics can be helpful.

Don't forget, your eyes are the organs that enable you to see so, take good care of them and prioritise their well-being, and make sure your eyes are one of your top priorities.

5. Dry Eye Surgery

A surgical procedure is carried out in a case when the dry eye issues become too severe to manage or treat using any of the other available methods. The ducts are surgically removed from the corner of the eyes so there is a reduction in the tears being channeled away from the eyes. Surgery is always the last option in such complex cases.

What Can Make Dry Eye Syndrome Worse?

Dry eye syndrome can have a considerable impact on the quality of an individual’s life. With that said, one might wonder, is there anything that can worsen dry eye issues? The answer to this question is yes.

Some crucial factors are, getting older, stress, and elevated anxiety levels. In the next section, we will enlighten you on the relationship between a person’s mental state and dry eye disease.

Is Your Dry Eye Condition Causing You Anxiety and Stress?

Dry eye disease is, no doubt, one of the most diagnosed eye-related disorders.

Here are some suggestions as to how you can deal with any anxiety and stress that dry eye problems might cause:

· Take a relaxing warm bath and focusing on relaxing.

· Meditate.

· Take slow and deep breaths.

· Writing down your inner feelings on paper daily and keep track of your stress and anxiety levels.

· Try regular exercise

· Take short breaks for yourself to relax away from work and the hustle and bustle.

The Most Effective Treatment for Dry Eye Disease

There are various options available but for long-lasting results, the most effective is IPL for Dry Eyes also known as Intense Pulsed Light Treatment. Next you will find crucial details regarding this highly modern and in-demand solution to solve dry eye issues.

More About IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Long gone are the days when people felt helpless by having dry eye syndrome. The dry eye IPL procedure involves the use of intense light-based therapy for targeting the root cause.

When it comes to dry eye, IPL is very effective. The wavelength of light used in IPL is absorbed by certain blood vessels, and those blood vessels change to a solid state. As a result, 2 things happen:

· blood vessels that cause unwanted inflammation are destroyed

· a reduction in the amount of pro-inflammatory mediators (these mediators cause dry eye).

Why is IPL So Effective?

The main reason IPL is successful for dry eye is that it treats the root cause of the inflammation, and inflammation plays a role in the cause of chronic dry eye). IPL treatment interrupts the dry eye inflammation cycle and brings osmotic concentration back to normal levels. IPL is suitable for males and females.

The Harley Street Eye Centre

The IPL Treatment – What Happens?

As mentioned previously, the IPL Treatment itself involves using intense pulses of light for releasing the built-up oil from the meibomian glands of the eye. Here is a basic outline of what to expect in 4 steps:

· The eye doctor begins the treatment by placing protective shields over the eye to cover it completely.

· Then, a thin covering of cooling gel is spread by the eye doctor under the eyes before proceeding further with the treatment.

· A small device is used to deliver pulses of light to the region around the eyelids. This procedure plays a significant role in releasing debris and various other particles from the meibomian glands of the eyes.

· Once the IPL treatment is completed, a manual expression is done by the eye doctor. This further improves gland function and releases blockages.

What Can IPL Treatment Do for Dry Eyes?

This treatment is very effective if you are looking for an effective IPL treatment with long lasting results.

When a meibomian gland becomes blocked or disrupted, the oil needed for tear production is significantly compromised. This can then lead to complications where eyes dry out. The good news is, IPL treatment restores and stimulates the functioning of healthy glands.

Blocked meibomian glands can lead to further complicated diseases, such as MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction). MGD is one of the leading causes of dry eyes. Around 80% of dry eye cases are associated with MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction).

For How Long Does IPL Treatment Last?

Normally, a regular IPL session for dry eyes will last for 10-15 minutes, and a patient can usually expect to undergo up to three sessions to complete the whole treatment. However, you may be asked to undergo more than three sessions, depending on the severity of your dry eye condition.

The impact of the dry eye treatment - there is no pain - will be felt within a few minutes after the procedure. The results and positive effects on eye health will last for a minimum of 6 months and up to 3 years. Beyond this, it is recommended to have occasional follow-up sessions as you age, to maintain results so you can continue living without the worries of dry eye syndrome.


  • 2 consultations (1 before we start and another consultation after 6 months to track progress).

  • 3 IPL applications (package includes 3 and the 4th is free of charge if needed).

  • Before and after testing to take a baseline at the start and a measurable quantifiable method to track patient objective patient improvement.

The effectiveness of the treatment is dependent of a specific protocol used:

The doctor looking after you will begin your IPL treatment for dry eye relief by placing shields over the eyes to protect them from the light pulses. Then a thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the treatment area and pulses of light will be delivered to the area underneath the lower lashes, this usually takes approximately 10-15 minutes.


An ophthalmologist consultation is highly recommended to determine the severity of your dry eye problems. In addition to IPL, The Harley Street Eye Centre has various methods to minimise the symptoms of dry eye so you can enjoy the long-term benefits. IPL is undoubtedly the best treatment for dry eye that you can have.

If you have tried different therapies for treating dry eye syndrome in the past but you’ve been unable to achieve the right results, then you would do well to consider IPL. The Harley Street Eye Centre uses modern & advanced dry eye technology.

You don’t have to wait to have dry eyes treated on the NHS. You too can be free of dry eye drops, eye ointments, and eye creams.

Cost of corrective eye surgery is not usually covered by health insurance companies.

Your private eye doctor will be available to help you if you experience any unusual or rare side effects.



Are you considering treatment for dry eyes? If you would like to discover more about dry eye treatments and IPL, speak with us to book a private consultation at our London Harley Street clinic.

We have achieved an excellent reputation and much recognition, as well as excellent reviews over many years in the UK and internationally.

Learn more about The Harley Street Eye Centre and the dry eye services & dry eye packages that we provide by clicking here. You can contact us via our contact page, by telephone London 0203 968 2030 and by using our online chat service where one of our doctors will chat with you. Book a Dry Eye Consultation at our Harley Street clinic today.

How to Get to The Harley Street Eye Centre

(The Harley Street Eye Centre is located in Marylebone, Harley Street in London UK).

Train Services to Harley Street W1G 9BP

Directions to 22A Harley Street, London W1G 9BP. Oxford Circus station is the nearest train station to Harley Street in Marylebone. Oxford Circus Station is in Zone 1 of the London Underground.

From Charing Cross to Harley Street W1G 9BP Directions to 22A Harley Street, London W1G 9BP. Harley Street is a well-known street in Marylebone in Central London. Harley Street is 1 mile from Charing Cross via the Underground and is under 2 miles away via car travel.

Harley Street is in the Centre of London so on the day you visit you will find a large choice of quality places to dine out.

Bus Service and Car Access to Harley Street W1G 9BP

The 453 bus service is widely available from London via Portland Place. The Harley Street Eye Centre is a 1 minute to 2 minutes’ walk from Portland Place.

Further London bus, tube and train travel options can be searched for here.

The Harley Street Eye Centre – for City of London, City of Westminster and all London boroughs. Inner London and Greater London.

Inner London: Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Islington, Camden, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, City of London, Hammersmith and Fulham and Wandsworth

Outer London: Bromley, Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley, Havering. Lewisham, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Newham, Waltham Forest, Haringey, Enfield, Barnet, Harrow and Hillingdon. Also, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, Richmond Upon Thames. Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Sutton and Croydon.

You can book a Same Day Dry Eye Consultation at our Clinic in London - Contact us to learn more.

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