Dry Eye Clinic

Find out more about our specialist Dry Eye Clinic, testing, diagnosis and treatment options.

Dry Eye Disease (DED) or Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a condition where the tears produced are insufficient to moisten and nourish the eye/s. This causes symptoms such as dryness, irritation, poor vision refreshed by blinking and even eye watering.

Why are tears important?

Tears are necessary to maintain healthy and comfortable eyes in order to provide clear vision. Tears bathe, nourish and protect the eye’s s urface from dryness and infection, they work to eliminate the irritants that cause discomfort and allergy, and keep the surface of the eye moist. When the eye fails to produce sufficient and stable tears, dry eye symptoms may occur and if left untreated, can result in damage to the eye’s surface.

What structures are involved in tear production?

  • The tear film: is <1/10th of the thickness of a human hair: it moistens, lubricates and protects the eye
  • Lipid layer: oily layer of the tear film produced mainly by the meibomian gland to help prevent tear evaporation and to spread the tear film over the surface of the eye.
  • Aqueous layer: the watery layer of the tear film, produced mainly by the lacrimal gland
  • Mucin (or mucous) layer: coats the cornea (the clear window to our vision) and holds the tear film to its surface; produced by the goblet cells.
  • Approximately one in every six people have dry eye, although this figure doubles to one in every three for people of Asian decent.
  • It tends to affect women more than men and can be common during the hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy and the menopause.
  • It is associated with other Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disease .
  • Dry eye can develop after surgical procedures such as LASIK, cataract or cosmetic surgery.
  • Prolonged use of computers, vídeo games, tablets and mobile phone screens can also bring on the condition.
  • Both prescription and over-the-counter medications including eye drops, allergy medication, anti-depressants and sleeping aids can cause symptoms.
  • Other environmental factors that contribute to symptoms can include allergies, pollution, wind, air conditioning/heating. cigarette smoke, dry environments, not drinking enough water and a poor diet.

Some common signs and symptoms of DED may include:

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Increased irritation from smoke or wind
  • Intermittent blurred vision, often during computer use or after prolonged reading
  • Periods of excessive tearing
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Tired eyes.

If you are suffering with any of the symptoms of DED it is important that you consult a dry eye specialist to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition to avoid permanent eye damage.

Testing:                     

At the Aston Dry Eye Clinic your examination will include a complete review of your health and medical history, as well as a problem-focused eye examination to help determine the cause of your dry eyes.

Our clinic uses state of the art Technology including the Medmont E300, Keratograph® 5M, the TearLab™ Osmolality Sensor and Eye-Light (intense pulse light [IPL] and Low Light therapy) to diagnose and treat your specific dry eye condition: we are one of only a handful of centres in the UK to offer this specialist service.

Treatment:

DED is generally a progressive and chronic condition that requires close monitoring. Our first priority is to determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and customise your treatment plan to address these specific needs.

Treatments may include:

  • Lid cleansing and gland expression
  • Over-the-counter or prescription eye drops and medications
  • Warm compresses or in-office procedures to unblock clogged oil glands
  • Closing your tear ducts to improve tear volume
  • Speciality contact lenses for dry eye
  • Pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics and steroids.

Booking your appointment: 

Our clinic currently runs on Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Appointments can be made with or without prior referral. If you would like to book or discuss treatment options please call +44 (0)121 204 4400 or email dryeye@aston.ac.uk.

Once your appointment has been scheduled please make the following notes and bring them with you:

  • Any symptoms you are experiencing including when they began
  • Your key personal and health information including any recent life changes
  • All medications, vitamins, eye drops and supplements that you are taking, including both prescription and over-the-counter and and any products being used to alleviate dry eye symptoms.
  • Any questions that you would like to ask our doctors.

Costs:

  • First visit (diagnosis appointment) has a cost of £60 and it lasts between 60 to 75 minutes.
  • A 6 month fee of £150* covers the cost of subsequent management visits, chair time and treatments to be used.

*Please note service fees may vary, depending on the complexity of your condition and the given treatment.

Important information:

The Dry Eye Clinic is staffed by leading academic clinicians and conducts research and training. Some patients might be eligible for clinical trials for which visit and treatment fees are free of charge. If you would prefer not to have students to observe your consultation, please let us know when booking.

Finding us:

The Dry Eye Clinic is based in the Vision Sciences building on the Aston University campus.Conveniently located in Birmingham city centre the Aston campus can be easily reached by foot, car and a variety of public transport links. For further details on how to find us please visit our maps and directions page.

A small number of parking spaces are available to patients, full details will be confirmed upon booking.

In addition to our Dry Eye Clinic we also offer routine eye tests and dispensing services as well as other specialist clínics for those with permanently damaged eyesight, slowing shortsightedness progression and binocular vision. For moreinformation on these services please visit Aston Eye Clinic.