are a common cause of presentation for MECS (Minor eye conditions service) appointments,
with a wide variation in patient symptoms.
not exclusively: gritty or foreign body (something in the eye),
burning or red eyes worsening throughout the day,
vision – more frequently when reading or concentrated tasks,
eyes – worse during windy or air-conditioned environments,
in both eyes – usually one eye is worse than the other.
There are a
wide range of factors that predispose a person to dry eyes; women are more
likely to be affected by dry eyes more than men and is also more common in the
illnesses such as thyroid disease or arthritis and other inflammatory conditions can make a person more
likely to struggle with dry eyes, other atopic conditions such as psoriasis,
rosacea and eczema may also increase symptoms in some patients. Along with
contact lens wear – particularly in patients who over wear their lenses.
under treatment with topical eye medications long term may have also experience
an increase in dry eye symptoms over time, where possible patients should be
offered preservative free treatments to reduce this.
can be roughly split into 2 categories: Aqueous dry eye deficiency and Evaporative dry eye.
Aqueous dry eye deficiency is where the gland producing the
watery component of the tear film is not producing sufficient fluid to
adequately cover the eye surface leading; in severe cases this may be diagnosed
as Sjogren syndrome if associated with rheumatic conditions.
Evaporative dry eye is where there is enough fluid to cover
the eye being produced but it is not retained on the eye surface, this may be
due to the top oily layer of the tears being deficient. This can be associated
Several treatment options are available in practice such as
Eyebag hot compress and lid massage which can help to improve the quality of
the oily layer of tears and therefore reduce symptoms. Various tear supplements
are available for day and night use, gels are predominantly used at night to
help stop evaporation whilst sleeping. Lipid sprays can be useful for patients
with evaporative dry eye during the day also. Regardless of the method of treatment
chosen these should be preservative free.
Other treatments include blocking the drainage channels in
the corner of the eyes to ensure tears stay in the eyes.
In severe cases once these options have been exhausted it
may be necessary to refer patients the hospital eye service for further
important for patients with dry eye to understand that this would be a
life-long treatment as in most cases dry eye symptoms will return if the
patient stops the recommended treatment, this should become a part of a
patients daily routine.
Bacterial conjunctivitis – a condition
that most adults will have experienced either themselves or through their
The vast majority of patients presenting at our MECS
appointments with bacterial conjunctivitis are children from the age of 3.
Classic presentation includes lashes that are stuck together
on waking in one or both eyes, sticky mucus discharge and mild redness of the clear
tissue overlying the white of the eyes (conjunctiva).
Causes of bacterial conjunctivitis can be from outside contamination,
other people you come into contact with or from the environment. Some patients
will suffer with bacterial conjunctivitis following a cough or cold. Another
cause could be build-up of oils on the lashes which makes you more prone to
infection, a condition called blepharitis which is generally more common in the
More often than not where children are concerned, parents
are advised they cannot attend school or nursery as the condition is
contagious. It will please parents immensely to know Public Health England DOES
NOT require exclusion from education for this condition, but does advise family
members to use separate towels and so forth at home. We’ll leave you to take
this up with your children’s school though!
Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually a self-resolving
condition that can be treated at home by bathing the eyes in boiled sterile
water or saline solution, at least twice a day. Most patients will NOT require
antibiotic eye drops/ ointment unless the practitioner feels that there is
significant discharge on examination or the condition has not resolved 1 week
Be patient and ‘keep an eye on it’, all puns intended! If it
doesn’t improve within 1 week we’ll be more than happy to see you and offer
further help and advice.
Optometrists cannot write prescriptions to the same extent
as a doctor unless they hold a specialist qualification. We can write a
‘Written order’ to a pharmacist for a small number of drugs for common eye
conditions, such as bacterial conjunctivitis, allergic eye problems and dry
Babies with sticky lashes should be seen by a GP as we
CANNOT prescribe antibiotics to children under 3, it may not be conjunctivitis
in this case and should be seen by a doctor.
Patients who are contact lens wearers with similar symptoms
should be more cautious as the bacteria causing the infection may be from a
foreign source and therefore require different treatment – Please come and see
For further information please visit the college of
optometrist website: https://www.college-optometrists.org/guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/conjunctivitis-bacterial-.html
A timeless Gucci sunglass design arrived from Italy 🇮🇹 . With the “record breaking February temperatures” set for the uk this weekend,
you may want to pop into any of our three branches, Tettenhall,Codsall and Wednesfield and treat yourself! Call 01902 422096 and our lovely reception team will be happy to help
This handsome chap is Henry. Henry was prescribed some fabulous blue lenses through our School Vision Assessment with our Optometrist Keren.
It is very important to look after your eyes from a young age. School vision takes this care one step further; it is not only a health check but means of improving a child’s performance at school.