Understand your Eye Test
Understanding your results
The higher the score, the drier your eyes are
We use the OSDI (Ocular Surface Disease Index) ophthalmology test. Our test gives you a score from 0 to 100. The higher the score, the drier your eyes are.
Use the test every few months to assess MILD, MODERATE, or SEVERE eye dryness and track how seasonal changes, your environment, and activities affect it.
How age affects your eyes
You shouldn't face many issues if you don’t have underlying conditions. Excessive screen time will lead to dry and irritated eyes, especially in the evenings and if you’re in temperature-controlled environments (central heating and air conditioning). Acne treatments (e.g. Roaccutane) will also give you very dry eyes. Sleeping less than 8 hours or excess alcohol consumption may affect how your eyes feel during the day.
Evaporative dry eyes start to become more of a problem for you. Corrective laser surgery can also destabilise your tear film and irritate your eyes. If you take medication for rheumatoid arthritis or antidepressants, these affect tear production leading to dry eyes. A healthy diet, including dark green vegetables and oily fish, will help maintain eye health.
Age reduces the quality and quantity of tears produced, causing dry eyes. The meibomian glands (inside your upper and lower eyelids) deteriorate, giving you dry eyes and Blepharitis. As part of the ageing process, your blink rate will slow down, giving more time for the tear film on your eyes to dry. The loss of elasticity in your skin may alter your eyelids, affecting blinking. Medication for rheumatoid arthritis and antidepressants can cause a reduction in tears, giving you Dry Eyes. And presbyopia (the gradual loss of your eye's ability to focus on nearby objects) starts at the beginning of this age bracket – which means you’ll need reading glasses.
With Menopause and Perimenopause, ⅔ of all women will face some dry eye issues. Of these, unfortunately, half will need some form of long-term treatment to help with Dry Eyes.
“Over 60% of women with menopause will experience dry eyes. With the increasing use of screens - dry eyes are also becoming more common in younger people.”
other factors affecting your eye health
Contact lenses sit semi-submerged on your eye, dividing and disrupting your tear film - increasing the incidence of dry eyes. You allow your tears to restabilise when you take out your contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses daily, we strongly recommend taking at least one day off a week. Long term contact lens wearers (10+ years) may develop an allergy to the contact lens material.
Corrective laser eye surgery can cause mild dry eyes (mainly if you used eye drops or sprays before the procedure). With cataract surgery, the sterilising fluid or post-operative drops destabilise the tear film, causing light sensitivity and dry eyes (which can sometimes take up to 3 years to correct). Eye sprays and drops can help with this. Lid and glaucoma surgery displaces the tear film, which can cause irritation and dry out your eyes.
Antidepressants, antihistamines, painkillers, thyroid replacement medication, oral contraceptives, and acne treatment can cause moderate to severe dry eyes. If you’re taking any of these and experiencing dry eye, talk to your GP about your options. Drops and sprays can help in the meantime - they moisturise the eye's surface, strengthening the lipid (top) layer - and stabilising the aqueous (middle) layer of your tear film.
Most allergies (including Hay Fever) result in an autoimmune response, disturbing your tear film and leading to dry eyes or Dry Eye Disease (DED).
Alcohol causes dehydration, while smoking (or exposure to a smoky environment) irritates your eyes - increasing the risk of dry eyes.
As you grow older, your tear production (quality and quantity) reduces (especially if you're over 45). In addition, oils from your meibomian glands (on the edge of your eyelids) will change consistency. Both contribute to dry eyes, and, from time to time, you may get blepharitis and styes. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the lipid (top) layer of your tears - so increasing your dietary intake will strengthen your tear film and help reduce tear evaporation. A balanced diet - rich in omega-3 and omega-6, such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, eggs and leafy greens, will help.