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What is the tear film?

The tear film is the outermost layer of the eye. It acts to lubricate the surface of your eye and protect it from the environment. Its smooth layer also allows light to enter the eye properly to provide good vision. 

There are three main layers in the tear film:

  • The aqueous layer – produced by the lacrimal gland comprising water, proteins and electrolytes
  • The mucous layer – produced by goblet cells comprising mucins to stick tears to the surface of the eye
  • The lipid layer – produced by meibomian glands comprising oils to prevent evaporation of the tears

What is dry eye?

Dry eye occurs when there is insufficient production or imbalance of any of the components in the tear film, leading to ocular discomfort. 

Apart from the feeling of dryness, the symptoms of dry eyes can include

  • Gritty, stinging or watery eyes
  • Intermittent blurred vision that is relieved through blinking
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Light sensitivity

Moderate to severe symptoms can lead to a decreased quality of life and has been found to be equivalent to unstable angina.

Dry eye is usually caused by a combination of one or more of these factors:

  • Age
  • Systemic conditions (e.g. Sjogren’s disease)
  • Some medications
  • Eyelid malposition
  • Poor or incomplete blinking
  • Anterior blepharitis (eyelid inflammation)
  • Posterior blepharitis / Meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Environmental conditions
  • Previous eye surgery

How is dry eye assessed?

Your optometrist will have a general inspection of your eyelids, tears and ocular surface using a slit lamp with high magnification. Coloured drops may be used to temporarily assess the tear film quality and if the dryness has led to any surface inflammation or damage.

Using the latest technology of the OCULUS Keratograph 5M, your optometrist can evaluate the tear meniscus height, evaporation rate, meibomian glands and their lipid production. This will also help judge your suitability for IPL treatment.


How do you manage dry eye?

The management of dry eye depends on the cause and severity. It can range from simple heat compresses and lubrication eye drops to medicated drops, ointments and oral supplements.

In cases where this management is insufficient, such as severe eyelid malposition, referral to an ophthalmologist can be provided.

E>Eye IPL for dry eye syndrome

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In June 2015 we became the first optometrists in the Gippsland area to offer the newest IPL (intense pulsed light) technology to treat meibomian gland dysfunction, one of the most common causes of dry eyes. As of October 2016, we have given 240 treatments to 80 patients with a success rate of around 85%!

The device emits high-intensity light over a broad spectrum, which are then limited by unique filters. The energy, spectrum and time period are precisely set to stimulate the meibomian glands in order for them to return to their normal function.

Your optometrist will adjust goggles over your eyes and apply a hydrogel to your skin. It would be best not to wear makeup to the treatment as it will have to be removed. A series of five flashes are applied under the lower eyelid and results are visible a couple hours later. The results are cumulative so three treatments are recommended on days 1, 14 and 45.

Watch the YouTube video below A Current Affair's report on the E>Eye IPL.

You will need an initial general consultation to determine your suitability for the IPL. Call 5174 6788 to book an eye care assessment or contact us by email to make an appointment.

Other Dry Eye Products & Services

Below are just some products we stock for the management of dry eyes. Have a chat to us about which ones are best for you! Click on the picture for more information.


    Bruder Eye Mask      ThermalEyes Therapeutic Heat Pack      Optimel and Optimel + Drops

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          OCuSoft Lid Scrub                           MDeyes                                      Hylo Forte Lubricating Eye Drops

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