The Blackheath Hospital40 - 42 Lee Terrace, Blackheath, London, SE3 9UD Directions
Mon - Sun: 24 hours
Due to COVID restrictions no visitors are currently allowed
Yes - 77 spaces
The Dry Eye Clinic at The Blackheath Hospital offers fast access to a wide range of diagnostic services and treatment for people in Greenwich, Lewisham or Bexley.
Your eyes are kept healthy and comfortable through a consistent and adequate layer of tears on your eye’s surface. These tears bathe your eye’s surface, which allows the surface to remain moist. Moreover, your tears remove any dust, debris and microorganisms that could damage your cornea and cause an eye infection.
A normal tear film consists of three important components which are:
There are different glands that are involved in producing each of these components:
A problem with any of these glands can cause tear instability and dry eyes.
If your meibomian glands do not secrete enough oil (meibum), your tear film may evaporate too quickly. This is known as “evaporative dry eye” and is caused by Meibomian gland dysfunction. Unfortunately, Meibomian gland dysfunction occurs in more than 85% of dry eye diseases.
Sometimes, dry eyes can be caused by your lacrimal glands not producing enough watery fluid to keep your eyes moist. This is known as aqueous deficiency. It can be associated with certain medications or autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Sjögren's syndrome (a chronic condition that affects the areas of your body that are responsible for producing spit or tears).
Unfortunately, if you have rosacea (a chronic skin condition that can cause redness) in your face, you can also suffer from rosacea in your eyes. This is known as ocular rosacea. It can cause irritation in your eyes, dry and bloodshot eyes, and inflamed eyelids. Sadly, the exact cause of rosacea is unknown but the condition can run in families.
Dry eyes can have several possible causes and these include:
A number of factors can increase your risk of dry eyes; some of which are outlined below:
Eye drops or artificial tears are the most common treatment used to relieve mild dry eyes. You do not need a prescription for these. Over-the-counter moisturising gels and ointments can also help alleviate your symptoms.
But if you have a more serious form of dry eye, your eye doctor might give you a prescription for a medication called cyclosporine. These are eye drops that can help your eyes produce more tears.
If your environment or a lifestyle issue is causing your dry eyes or aggravating them, your doctor may recommend certain changes to protect your eyes.
Lifestyles changes that could help alleviate your symptoms include:
If your tears are rapidly draining from your eyes, your Consultant or GP may recommend placing special plugs, known as punctal plugs, in your tear ducts. These plugs are formed of silicone or collagen. They can treat dry eyes by reducing or prevent your tears from rapidly draining from the surface of your eyes.
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a chronic abnormality of the Meibomian gland that can cause a change in your tear film and irritation in your eyes. Meibomian gland expression involves unblocking the small obstructions that are blocking your Meibomian glands. Prior to this procedure, you will also receive a local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a light-based therapy that involves the treatment of the skin near your eyelids. It is a considered a potential treatment for Meibomian gland dysfunction. IPL therapy involves applying high-intensity light pulses with different wavelengths to encourage the secretion of oil in your Meimobian glands. IPL therapy can also target the abnormal blood vessels in your eyelids, which can lead to inflammation in your eyelids.
We have a broad range of specialist opthalmologst Consultants who can help diagnose your health issue and build a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
FRCOphth, PhD in Glaucoma, University College London, MRCSEd, MSc(Oxon) in Glaucoma, St Peter’s College, Oxford University, MBBS
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