We specialise in identifying and helping to treat Dry Eye Syndrome

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eyes can be itchy, sore, gritty, red and even excessively watery. Dry Eye sensations are caused by problems with the tear film that form on the front of your eye and protect it from debris

The typical symptoms you may experience with dry or watery eyes include:

  • Burning, stinging or itching
  • Gritty feeling
  • Irritation from wind or smoke
  • Blurred or smeary vision
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Excessive watering
  • Light sensitivity
  • Contact lens discomfort

The symptoms are often worse first thing in the morning or later in the evening and can be exacerbated by driving, computer use or air conditioning.

Common causes of Dry Eye?

There are a wide variety of reasons why you may suffer with dry eyes including:

  • Ageing
  • Hormonal changes especially in women
  • Blepharitis
  • Dry environment
  • Prolonged computer use
  • Systemic conditions such as arthritis
  • Certain medications
  • Contact lenses
  • LASIK surgery
  • Diet

There are lots of reasons why your eyes can become dry, and the aim of the dry eye clinic is to establish the main cause for your discomfort. Previous eye injuries or other problems within the body such as arthritis can increase dry eye disease. Disorders of the eyelid can also impair the complex blinking motion required to spread tears.

Dry Eye

A Dry Eye Consultation

Appointment Length 90 Minutes (approx)

Dry eye disease has become one of the most common eye conditions, with recent studies suggesting that 40% of people over 40 suffer with the condition. Our in depth 90 minute consultation involves diagnosing the type(s) of dry eye you may have, what the cause could be and discussing treatment options. 

Airedale Opticians are one of a handful of Optometrists in the north of England, to have invested in state of the art equipment to help not only diagnose, but also invested in treatments to provide long-term relief for dry eye sufferers.

DIAGNOSIS – There is no single test that can accurately diagnose dry eye. We spend a large proportion of the time discussing your symptoms, triggers, history, health, occupation, diet and range of other detailed questioning to understand you and your dry eyes.

We have invested in one of the latest diagnostic equipments by Topcon called a Myah.

The Topcon Myah typically includes several tools for dry eye assessment, including:

  1. Meibography: Captures images of the meibomian glands to assess their structure and function, which is crucial in diagnosing meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a common cause of dry eye.
  2. Pupillometry: Measures pupil size and dynamics, which can be informative in evaluating tear film stability and ocular surface health.
  3. Tear Film break-up time: Assessing tear film quality and stability.
  4. Tear Meniscus height: Assessing tear volume retained in the eye.
  5. Blink Analysis: Analyzes blink patterns and frequency, which can provide insights into ocular surface health and tear film dynamics.
  6. Corneal Topography: While not directly related to dry eye assessment, corneal topography can still be valuable in identifying irregularities on the corneal surface that may contribute to dry eye symptoms.
Questionnaire – We will use a TFOS (Tear film and Ocular Society) questionnaire to ‘grade’ your dry eye which also helps with follow-up appointments.
Once we have made a diagnosis, we will formulate and recommend a treatment plan to help bring your dry eye condition under control. Having specialised in dry eye for over a decade, our Optometrists have found that no two dry eye patients are the same, as such the treatment plan we recommend is tailored to you. 
We will offer a follow-up appointment to discuss how you are managing the condition and if needed enhance the treatment plan to improve further your eye comfort (there is a cost for follow-up visits).

Dry Eye Treatments Available at Airedale Opticians

We offer a variety of Dry Eye treatments in-house. We now offer the revolutionary IPL/LLLT treatment (see details below).

We can provide tear duct syringing which can break down and remove blockages in the tear ducts. We can also fit Puctum Plugs, tiny plugs that fit into the tear ducts and avoid excessive drainage of the tears.

All of these procedures can be carried out by one of your trusted optometrists, in practice, at a date and time that suit you, no doctor or hospital referrals are required. See our Fees Page for pricing details.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT)

Current treatments for Dry Eye treat the symptoms to enable you to be more comfortable. However, there is a now a treatment available which treats MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction), the cause of up to 80% of dry eye cases.

IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatment combined with LLLT (low level light therapy) is a pain-free and effective way to treat dry eye conditions related to MGD, improving tear quality and other symptoms reported by patients

How Does IPL/LLLT Work?

The meibomian glands in the eyelids produce oil that forms part of the tear film.  The oily layer prevents the tears from evaporating. 
MGD occurs when the meibomian glands are obstructed or inflamed. Patients with facial or ocular rosacea, have abnormally dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia) along the eyelid margins.  These dilated vessels deliver increased inflammation to the eyelid and can cause dysfunction of the meibomian glands.  

IPL causes photocoagulation (it closes these abnormal vessels) and also photorejuvenation of the skin cells. IPL treatment also opens up the meibomian glands and liquifies of the oil within the glands. 
After IPL treatment,  the low level light (LLLT) mask is worn for around 15 minutes (depending on the severity of your dry eye) which liquifies the oils in the glands. Finally our dry eye Optometrist will manually express the meibomian glands to release the old oils in the lids.

How quickly does it work?

Most patients notice an improvement only a few hours after the first treatment.  However, depending on the severity of the condition, up to four treatments may be required separated by 2-3 weeks.  After the third or fourth treatment, further treatments will not be required for up to a year.  Generally, patients require one top-up treatment annually.  The cost for IPL treatment is available here.

Other Treatment Options

Punctum Plugs

Punctal plugs are small devices that are used to block the tear drainage channel in the inner corner of your eye. The plugs are inserted into the tear duct opening, which is called the puncta. Tears normally drain out from this channel through the back of your nose and into the back of your throat. The punctal plug acts as a dam by preventing tears from flowing out. This helps keeps your eyes moist with your own tears. They can also help artificial tears last longer.

Punctal plugs can be inserted for a short amount of time or permanently. Temporary punctal plugs are typically made out of collagen, a material that is found in bone and skin. These plugs naturally dissolve over time. Permanent punctal plugs are usually made out of silicone.

Punctal Plugs

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Punctal plugs can be inserted in the lower eyelid, upper eyelid, or both. Before your eye care practioner inserts a plug, he/she will measure the opening of your tear duct to determine the size of plug that you will need to block your tear duct. He/she will sometimes use topical anesthetic drops (numbing drops) before the procedure, but in many cases, no anesthesia is needed. The exact way your eye care practioner inserts the plug depends on the design and shape. Some plugs come with special inserters, but other types are inserted with forceps or other instruments. The location of insertion also depends on the type of plug. You can see some plugs after they are inserted. Others are inserted deeper into the tear duct and will not be visible when you look in the mirror.

You may have some mild discomfort while the punctal plugs are inserted, but it will be very brief. Most people cannot feel the plugs once they are in place. If they do feel them, it is a mild sensation that is not bothersome. You can resume normal activities and drive yourself home immediately after the procedure.

Punctal plugs inserted

How Are Punctal Plugs Removed?

Temporary punctal plugs dissolve naturally and do not require removal. Permanent punctal plugs do not need to be removed unless you are bothered by them or develop an infection (which is extremely rare).

Removing punctal plugs is usually very easy. Your eye care practitioner may take out the plug using forceps. If the punctal plug has migrated deeper into the tear duct and cannot be removed with forceps, the plug can be flushed out using saline solution.

What are the Risks of Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs rarely cause serious side effects, but they do have some risks. Possible risks include:

  • The plug falling out, this is the most common problem
  • Excessive tearing, the plugs can be removed if this happens
  • Eye infection, the plug can be removed if this happens

Flow Controllers

Flow controllers are a tiny hollow insert which are placed in the tear duct, holding it open.

These Flow Controller plugs are used for draining tears in the treatment of Epiphora caused by zero flow while the rest of the lacrimal duct is normal and keeps a blocked punctum open assuring normal tear regulation.