With the colder months upon us, many of us will experience the discomfort and irritation of dry eyes. This condition is very common at this time of year and can affect anyone, including contact lens wearers. Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly, resulting in persistent discomfort and irritation. Tears play a vital role in maintaining good eye health. They help lubricate the eye’s surface, preventing damage and keeping your vision clear.

Read on as our experts explain dry eyes and explore the most common causes, symptoms, and treatment options to help you alleviate your discomfort and keep your eyes healthy.

Dry eye – causes and symptoms

There are several causes of dry eye, including ageing, medication side effects, and environmental factors. As winter air gets colder and drier, our eyes become more susceptible to dryness and irritation. Additionally, spending more time indoors in central heating can also contribute to the problem. Other culprits include wind, air pollution, and prolonged use of digital devices, which can reduce the frequency of blinking and, in turn, decrease tear production. Certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can also cause dry eyes as a side effect.

Symptoms of dry eye can vary from mild to severe and may include itching, a burning sensation, redness, and sensitivity to light. You may also experience excessive tearing as your eyes try to compensate for the lack of moisture. If you wear contact lenses, you may find that they feel less comfortable than usual, or your vision may become blurry.

When these symptoms become persistent, they can affect your quality of life, so it’s best to contact our Barking opticians practice or opticians in Canning Town to see one of our expert optometrists. They can examine your eyes to determine the cause and although there is no permanent cure, they’ll be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment to relieve your symptoms.

Dry eye treatment

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, our optometrist may recommend a specific dry eye gel, eye drops, or ointment to reduce inflammation and irritation. You should also consider investing in a humidifier to add moisture to the air indoors and take frequent breaks while working on a computer or reading to reduce eye strain. Remember to blink more often too, to spread moisture across your eyes while looking at screens. A heated mask for dry eyes can also be effective when used daily to unblock glands that help produce natural oils in the tear film.

Get dry eye advice from our opticians in Barking or Canning Town


Dry eye can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but by understanding its causes and symptoms, you can take steps to alleviate your discomfort and enjoy the winter season. If you’re experiencing dry eyes, visit our Barking opticians or our opticians in Canning Town to be assessed so they can advise treatment options that work best for your individual needs.