Dry Eyes? Steam Them With a Pair of Electric
only one thing worse than being in pain yourself and thats
seeing a loved one suffering.
Two years ago
my husband Harry developed dry eye, which might sound
trivial but can be very painful and debilitating.
with mild discomfort itching in both eyes, then deteriorated
over six months until Harry could keep his eyes open only until
the early afternoon.
We were puzzled,
but initially just assumed it was caused by smoke from our log fires.
Then Harry saw his GP, who diagnosed dry eye.
occurs when the eyes either dont produce enough tears, or
those they do produce evaporate too quickly.
Some 20 per
cent of people in the UK suffer from dry eye, a figure which rises
to 50 per cent in those over 65.
In a third
of cases its caused by glands in the eyelids which secrete
oils. The problem occurs when these oils are too thick and waxy
its usually an age thing.
As a result,
the layer of water that coats the eyes evaporates too quickly, leaving
them dry and inflamed.
a chronic stinging and a gritty, burning, and itching feeling. Sometimes
the eye can appear red, but often, as in Harrys case, there
is no outward sign of discomfort.
Harry was prescribed
Celluvisc eye drops, a substitute for tears. They helped, but not
enough, and it meant that he couldnt drive because he couldnt
keep his eyes open for long enough as they were so sore.
because it soothed the eye, but he was blinking so much that it
became dangerous. It was also embarrassing because people presumed
that he was nodding off to sleep, so he had to keep explaining himself.
condition eventually became unbearable. The GP just kept on prescribing
Celluvisc until eventually 18 months after his first symptoms
Harry was referred to an eye specialist, who diagnosed blepharitis,
or inflamed eyelids.
of those with dry eye suffer from this. The treatment? Yet more
at a lunch party mentioned they had used electric goggles for dry
eyes to great effect. The goggles deliver steam directly into the
eyes, melting the waxy oil in the eye to improve its natural oil
goggles, as they are known, are the result of a happy coincidence.
the British eye specialist John Fuller, was visiting his brother
Tom in New Zealand when he was persuaded to try a steam bath.
After ten minutes
in the steam room, he noticed that while he didnt have dry
eyes, his vision was remarkably clear and his eyes felt very comfortable.
Tears are formed
of three layers, one of which is oily. Mr Fuller says: Like
all oily substances, when heated this layer melts, creating better
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