Learn more about what common eye conditions you could be suffering from and the solutions for treating them
Dry, tired and gritty eyes
Eyes can feel uncomfortable and dry when the quality and quantity of your tears are insufficient to keep the surface of your eyes moist. The tear ducts, glands and cornea of the eye all work together to supply a constant flow of tears to the eye, which is spread across the eye through blinking. The tear itself is made up of water, oils, mucous, anti-bodies and proteins.
Without a good flow of quality tears and regular blinking, dry eyes can occur. This can commonly be caused by environmental factors such as heating, air conditioning, wind, smoke, dust, long periods in front of the computer, driving, overwork and allergies. Additionally, age and health can also have an impact, whereby eyes tend to become drier.
Perfect for relieving dry, gritty eyes, Murine® dry & tired eyes are specially formulated with two powerful lubricants that lock in moisture whilst refreshing eyes and soothing discomfort. And if the thought of using drops in your eye is a little uncomfortable, Murine® refresh & soothe eye mist is an effective alternative solution. The fine mist sprays onto closed eyes, moisturising and soothing irritation.
For users who may be suffering from dry eye symptoms but are sensitive to preservatives, there is a new preservative free, clinically proven formulation in Murine® Professional Advanced Dry Eye Relief. It is perfectly balanced to work with your tears to lubricate and restore the condition of your eye’s surface, relieve the dryness and soothe the associated irritation.
Optometrist Francesca Marchetti shares her top tips for treating dry and tired eyes:
- Think ‘20/20’ - when working in front of a computer for long periods of time, make sure you blink regularly and take regular breaks. This will help to stop your eyes from getting tired and uncomfortable. Remember the ’20, 20, 20, 20’ rule - every 20 mins look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and blink 20 times.
- Maintain a balanced diet - Make sure you have enough oily fish etc in your diet, or consider taking a flaxseed oil. Omega 3 supplements such as cod liver oil are also advisable, as is drinking plenty of water!
- Eye drops - if it feels like you have dry eyes then a lubricating liquid gel drop will refresh and moisturise them
- Protect your eyes - wear sunglasses when possible in environments that are likely to dry your eyes, such as sunny, windy, dusty or polluted ones
- Soothe your eyes - placing a hot compress over closed eyes daily will help to stimulate tear production and reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. Use an eye-bag or equivalent for a hot compress as it heats to the correct temperature, holds the heat efficiently and works much better than hot flannels.
Dr Sarah Jarvis also recommends:
- Medication awareness - If you’re taking regular medication, especially if you’ve started it recently, read the patient information leaflet to see if your medicine could be causing or contributing to the problem. Medications that can cause dry eyes include antidepressants, water tablets (usually used for high blood pressure), antihistamines and beta blockers (usually used for heart problems)
Red and irritated eyes
Sore and red eyes can be caused by a number of factors, including irritants in the environment or even by lifestyle activities. When the eye is irritated the blood vessels on the white surface of the eye can become enlarged, causing them to appear red and sore.
Symptoms of minor redness and soreness are likely to be due to the environment, an activity or a minor irritant such as:
- Dry climate
- Air conditioning or heating
- Hot blowing air
- High altitudes
- Computer use or reading
- Dusty, smoky or polluted atmospheres
- Chlorine from swimming
- Eyelash in the eye
- Over consumption of alcohol
When you are looking for relief from red, irritated eyes, Murine® irritation & redness relief eye drops rapidly helps to clear redness and soothe the eyes. Available in pharmacies only, the key ingredient, naphazoline, rapidly reduces swollen blood vessels on the surface of the eye and has a fast acting and long lasting action.
Caution: Not for use if you suffer from any serious eye diseases. Always read the label.
Pharmacy assistant Charlotte Culmer shares her top tips for treating red, irritated eyes:
- Protect your eyes - Often when customers come in store with irritated or red eyes it is because they have been working outside or in a dusty environment. Try rinsing the eyes with saline or a lubricating eye drop to wash the irritant away. But to prevent this from occurring, wearing suitable eye protection or wrap-around glasses can help minimise irritation.
- Wear eye protection - Strong chemicals with strong fumes can cause the eyes to become irritated, again where possible, wear suitable eye protection.
- Take regular breaks - driving for long periods of time or again being in front of a computer screen, television or monitor can contribute to red, irritated eyes. Be sure to take regular breaks to help combat this.
- Don’t rub - avoid rubbing or fiddling with the eye as this agitates and can cause the symptoms to get worse and the eye to become even more inflamed.
- Eye drops - For minor irritation and redness, there are a number of non-medicinal solutions as well as pharmacy strength products available. One option may be to try a drop with naphazoline hydrochloride which reduces the redness and relieves soreness and irritation. This is a licenced medicine.
- Seek medical advice for serious symptoms - If you suffer with more serious symptoms (such as pain, impaired vision, headache, vomiting, inability to tolerate light) you should urgently visit a doctor. You should also immediately visit a doctor for any penetrating eye injury or embedded foreign body or if the eye has been irritated by harsh chemicals such as acid, alkali, or cement.
More than fifteen per cent of the UK’s population, approximately nine million people, suffer from hayfever, which is caused by an allergic reaction to pollens in the environment and one of the key symptoms can be itchy, red and streaming eyes. The body produces histamines in reaction to the pollens and this is what causes the eyes to become red and itchy.
Are the following symptoms present?
- Both eyes affected
- Slight burning sensation
- Eyelids slightly swollen
- Do the symptoms occur at the same time each year (eg hayfever)?
- Do they occur throughout the year, often in morning (perennial hayfever)?
- Accompanied by sneezing and blocked or runny nose?
If you are suffering with hayfever eyes then using the Murine® hayfever relief eye drops can help to reduce eye discomfort and the key ingredient Sodium Cromoglicate helps to stop the production of histamines and in turn prevents the uncomfortable symptoms.
Pharmacy Assistant Charlotte Culmer shares her top tips for treating hayfever eyes:
- Avoid high pollen areas - pollen counts are highest in the early morning and early evening. Keep an eye on the pollen count and steer clear of grassy or other high pollen areas when they’re high
- Reduce exposure - when outside during the day wear wraparound sunglasses to reduce the area of the eye exposed to pollens
- Wash smart - Avoid drying your washing, especially bedding, outside during the summer as pollens can become caught in the fabric and can irritate the symptoms further.
- Eye drops - There are a number of treatments available for treating 'Hayfever Eyes'. One example is using specialised eye drops with Sodium Cromoglicate in. These can be used in conjunction with hayfever tablets and nasal sprays if you have other hayfever symptoms. If used before you leave the house, they can help prevent symptoms from developing. They can also be used once symptoms are present.
- Shut out the pollen - keep windows and doors closed during the times when the pollen count is highest to avoid pollen settling indoors.
Eyes which have lost their sparkle
Hectic and demanding lifestyles can take their toll and make your eyes appear tired and dull. Whether it is an early start, a day in front of the computer or a long journey – sometimes our eyes need a little refreshing.
When you are looking for a quick pick me up for your eyes, Murine® bright & moist eyes can help to give them some sparkle. The drops, which are formulated with a brightener to give super- white eyes and two moisturisers to help refresh and soothe the eyes, come in a liquid gel. This helps to keep the drops in the eye for longer.
Dr Sarah Jarvis’ top tips for achieving bright and sparkling eyes:
- Maintain a balanced diet - cut down on salty food, alcohol, and drink plenty of water. Keeping your body hydrated is vital for ocular health.
- Rest up - make sure you are getting lots of sleep, if you look tired so will your eyes.
- Eye drops - You can use specialised brightening drops to bring out the natural properties, such as the white part of the eye and make them sparkle.
- Check your eyes - go for regular eye checks from your local optician – at least every 2 years or more often if your optician recommends it.
Eyes irritated by contact lenses
Frequent use of contact lens can be exceptionally convenient for many people but can also cause irritation and dryness of the eye. It is important to keep your eyes well lubricated when wearing contact lenses while ensuring that the drops you use are suitable for use with your lenses.
Contact Lenses and Good Hygiene
Before inserting and removing your contact lenses, always wash your hands well with soap and water and dry them with a clean towel. Try to avoid perfumed or oily soaps that may stick to the lens’ surface. Getting into the habit of inserting and removing the same lens first will help you avoid mixing up the lenses for the left and right eye.
When storing your lenses, clean and disinfect them according to the labelling instructions. Always rinse them using the appropriate lens solution since not all solutions can be used for all contact lenses. You should try and avoid substituting your lens solution with water since it will not properly disinfect your lenses and may contaminate them, potentially causing a serious eye infection. Lenses should never be cleaned with saliva.
Make sure the solution is fresh each time you store your lenses.
In order to avoid contamination, take care to not allow the tip of the solution bottle touch any surface. Your case should also be cleaned on a regular basis, allowed to air dry, and preferably replaced with a new one every month or two. It is highly recommended to leave your lenses in the case for at least four hours between uses to ensure that they are completely disinfected.
Murine® contacts refresh & clean eye drops are formulated to improve lens comfort throughout the day, helping to re-wet your contacts and moisturise your eyes. While wearing your lenses the drops also gently cleanse your lenses of deposits and particles that may build up throughout the day.
Optometrist Francesca Marchetti shares her top tips for contact lens care:
- Regular check-ups - attend appointments with your optician regularly and ensure that you are having your contact lenses checked at least once a year. It is important that the lenses you are wearing are right for you.
- Follow the expert advice - ensure that you follow your optician’s guidelines on wearing your contacts. The length of wear can vary depending on the type of lens, however it is commonly recommended that you wear your lenses for no longer than 10 – 12 hours per day and for 5 days per week.
- Eye drops - Clean and dis-infect your lenses according to the labeling instructions and with the appropriate solution. Keep specially formulated eye drops on hand at all times to prevent the discomfort and risk of damage caused by dry eyes and the build-up of dirt or particles on your lenses
- Be aware of pollen - Remove your contacts if your allergies are particularly bad. This avoids pollens becoming attached to the lenses and further irritating your eyes.
- Underlying conditions - Do not assume that if your contact lenses are irritating you that it is “dry eye” or an allergic reaction. Seek advice from your optometrist or contact lens optician
Dr Sarah Jarvis adds:
- Although most people who wear contact lenses don’t have problems, they can sometimes cause serious complications. If you have acute pain (rather than irritation), redness or blurring of vision, see a doctor as soon as possible
Recognising when to see an eye care professional
Unless you have already experienced problems with your eyes, chances are you take them for granted, figuring that as long as you can see fine, everything must be OK. However, you may be risking long-term damage to your eyes by not identifying and taking take care of any problems today
Signs you should have an eye exam
Here are some signs that you should have an eye exam:
- Frequent eyestrain - If your eyes occasionally get tired, it is probably not a problem. However, frequent eyestrain or extended periods of fatigue may signal a deterioration of the health of your eyes.
- Tears –Unprovoked tears or moisture in the eyes is often a sign of the beginning of an eye problem like dry eyes.
- Headaches – If you suddenly experience headaches on a regular basis, it could be due to eyestrain.
- Squinting – You may take some time to recognise that you are doing it, but squinting is a definite sign that you need to get your eyes checked.
The above are usually not symptoms of emergencies and may be resolved with glasses, contact lenses or eye drops, but you should still see your optometrist as soon possible.
Signs of more serious eye problems - for immediate attention
If you experience any of the signs below, you should see your doctor immediately as they indicate more serious problems.
- Spots and Floaters – The sudden appearance of spots and floaters may signal a detachment of the retina or a tear that can cause loss of eyesight.
- Narrowing of Field of Vision – If you can only see directly in front of you, you may have developed glaucoma. If it is not treated, vision loss will continue.
- Blurred Eyesight and Loss of Bright Colours – This may be a sign of cataracts which may lead to blindness over time unless you undergo surgery.
- Photophobia (unable to tolerate light)
- Pupil is an abnormal shape or uneven
- Pain or impaired vision with associated headache or vomiting
- Penetrating eye injury or embedded foreign body
- Harsh chemical irritants in eye such as acid, alkali or cement
There are many other signs of both minor and major problems with your eyes, including redness, trouble focusing, red eyes and general eye pain. You should never hesitate to visit your eye care professional as soon as any symptoms appear. It is far better to schedule an appointment for a false alarm than to wait until a particular eye condition becomes more severe.
Warnings: If eye symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Disclaimer – Prestige Brands (UK) Limited, the owner of the Murine® brand of eye care products, is not providing any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The content provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Certain references to third-party information have been provided but have not been verified or validated by Prestige Brands (UK) Limited. Prestige Brands (UK) Limited does not recommend or endorse any third-party information and your use of any information on this website is solely at your own risk.