Not A Dry Eye In The House - Except Mine. Do You Suffer With Drier Than The Sahara-Eyes?

'Dry your eyes, mate' sang The Streets and I know that they weren't singing for me.

My eyes are constantly dry, they are like the Sahara of peepers. I might cry about it except, well, I have dry eyes.

I didn't realise I had such an affliction until I went for laser eye surgery a few years ago. The clinic did a whole plethora of tests involving air-into-eye-puffing, dilating my pupils so much that I looked like a Power Puff Girl and one that tested my tear-level by placing little strips into my waterline.

See, our tear sacs produce tears, lubricating the eye and allowing the eyelid to just glide up and down. But if we don't produce enough tears, there can be friction as the eyelid rubs off the eyeball. And I hope I don't put you off your lunch with that description.

Now, if they had asked, I would have told them I was grand in the tears department because, well, don't tell anyone, but I'm an awful softie. I am banned from watching films like 'Marley and Me' due to the ensuing waterworks, and when Hayley died in Coronation Street, there was a moment when I thought I might have to be hospitalised.

woman eye with long eyelashes

But as it turned out, I had quite dry eyes - so much so that I barely snuck into the suitable for surgery category. I must've used up all the tears on soppy films and reruns of The Notebook.

Years on from the surgery, I'm left with the vision of a superhero but I still have those sensitive eyes that are made out of sandpaper. And dry eyes are a side effect of laser surgery so I have compounded the problem. I'm clever like that.


Dry eyes mean that the eye can feel irritated, scratchy and uncomfortable. And confusingly, it can also cause excessive tearing. But when your eyes stream like this, the tears are made mostly of water and will only clean the eye temporarily. Certain things will always cause my eyes to stream - looking at very bright lights, hairspray, the bit in 'Love, Actually' when Emma Thompson finds out her husband is cheating and she has to hide it from the kids.

There are plenty of  causes of the condition - wearing contact lenses, working at a screen, antihistamines, medicationss, oral contraceptives, genetic disposition, arthritis, Vitamin A deficiency, ageing, hormonal changes…..the list goes on until my eyes stream.

dry eyes

But here are some tips to help if you suffer with dry eyes:

  • Air conditioning and central heating can exacerbate the problem so avoid where possible and where you can, make sure you aren't sitting directly by a vent.
  • Eye drops first thing in the morning and during the day can alleviate that 'scratchy' feeling.
  • Thicker gels are available over the counter that can be used at night to really soothe your eyes.
  • Never take eye cream closer to your eye than just around your orbital bone.
  • Use a waterproof mascara to avoid the Clockwork Orange look.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect those sensitive peepers from bright light and also on windy days.
  • Take flaxseed oil or fish oil (both omega-3 oils) to increase the quality of tears.
  • If you work at a screen, take a moment every few minutes to focus your eyes elsewhere and to blink a few times. Sounds simple but it works.
  • If you wear contact lenses, ask about high moisture or silicone hydrogel lenses.
  • Make sure to talk to your GP so they can help you determine the cause and if any medical help is necessary.

Image via Image via

Do you have dry eyes? And what tips do you have to help the Sahara-peepered amongst us? To the comments!

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