Eyesight: Half of Britons have ‘watery, itchy, grainy or dry’ eyes – can lead to disease

According to a new survey by eye care specialists Rohto, millions of Britons are putting their eye health “at risk”. The research, conducted this year, found that nearly six in ten adults now suffer from dry eye – a clinical cause of eye irritation, fatigue and discomfort. If the symptoms are not treated, they can progress to chronic dry eye.

Optometrist, Francesca Marchetti, explained how this can happen.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Dry eye is caused by a lack of lubrication in the eye – either due to staring at a screen for hours on end (and a lack of blinking), or because the tear glands are not functioning effectively.

“In a normal eye, the tear film – the multi-layered, moist protective film – covers the cornea and lubricates the eye.

“However, when the eyes are overused, the lacrimal glands do not produce enough tears, causing dry spots to appear on the surface of the eye.

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“So when our eyes don’t have enough ‘fluid’ in the first place and/or the lipids don’t spread to the eye due to a lack of blinking, it causes dry eyes and our eyes can also experience irritation and discomfort.”

The research, which surveyed more than a thousand people, found that half of adults complained of irritated and itchy eyes, while four in ten said their eyes were red, tired and sore.

The main symptoms of dry eye are:

  • Drought
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Sand
  • Sting
  • Fatigue.

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If symptoms persist and are not treated, they can lead to chronic dry eye, a lifelong condition that can damage eye tissue.

In extreme cases, it can also cause corneal scarring leading to blurred vision and even vision loss.

In the survey, the frequency of these symptoms was linked to screen time, with those who spent 51-60 hours a week being 50% more likely to have eye problems.

Ms Marchetti said: ‘It’s essential to tackle this problem early – with regular use of dry eye relief drops which address as many aspects of the condition as possible and therefore break the vicious cycle of dryness. eye to avoid long term damage to the cornea. ”

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She advised taking screen breaks as often as possible.

“Experts like me recommend letting our eyes wander away from screens every 20 minutes by looking at a distant object (20 feet away) for 20 seconds and blinking for 20 seconds.

“It’s called the 20 20 20 screen breaking rules (including using multiple digital devices),” she said.

“Yet only a minority do, so it’s no wonder four in ten Britons say their lock screen habits are making their eyes worse than ever.”

The NHS also recommends:

  • Clean your eyelids daily
  • Take breaks to rest your eyes when using a computer screen
  • Make sure your computer screen is just below eye level
  • Use a humidifier to keep the air from drying out
  • And if you wear contact lenses, remove them and wear glasses to rest your eyes.

You may be more likely to have dry eyes if:

  • You are over 50
  • You wear contact lenses
  • You stare at computer screens for a long time without interruption
  • You spend time in air-conditioned or heated environments
  • It’s windy, cold, dry or dusty
  • You smoke or drink alcohol
  • You are taking certain medications (for example, certain antidepressants or blood pressure medications)
  • You have a condition, such as blepharitis.

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