What is dry eye?

Dry eye, also known as dry eye syndrome, is a common eye disorder suffered either because the eyes don’t make enough tears or because the tears evaporate too quickly. It can make your eyes feel dry, scratchy, irritated or watery, as well as heavy and tired at the end of the day. Usually, it does not cause long-term problems with your sight, but it can cause fluctuating blurriness, and in severe cases, the lack of sufficient tears can result in an increased risk of infection, eye inflammation, abrasion of, or the formation of an ulcer on, the eye’s surface. Treating and managing your dry eye early can prevent permanent damage.

Did you know?

In the UK dry eye affects 1 in 4 people

97% of all patients feel frustrated by their disease

1 in 3 people with dry eye cannot find relief with the treatments readily available to them

  • Dry eye is common, with up to 100 million people globally affected by it to some extent
  • Dry eye is most common in women of menopausal or post-menopausal age, contact lens wearers and those who have uninterrupted screen time
  • Dry eye is also more common in women and older people in general
  • Although not usually serious, it’s important to find the right treatment because if left untreated, in some cases, dry eye symptoms can get worse and may cause eye damage

Frequently asked questions

Who is most at risk of having dry eye?

Dry eye can affect anyone, but is more common in women of menopausal or post-menopausal age, people who spend a lot of time looking at devices with screens or those who wear contact lenses. Read on to learn more about who is at risk.

Why are my eyes watery if I have dry eye?

Excessive watering of the eyes is sometimes a symptom of dry eye. This is because dryness of the eye surface can over-stimulate the production of the watery component of your tears.

Is there a cure for dry eye?

Artificial tear solutions can help manage dry eye. At present, no treatments are available to eliminate all causes of the condition. Cationorm®, a unique solution that protects and hydrates the eye, while supporting healing, to provide long-lasting dry eye relief, is now available to buy.

What treatments are available?

A wide variety of dry eye treatments are available, including eye drops, gels and ointments. It’s important to find a solution that protects, hydrates and supports healing from any damage to the eye’s surface resulting from the lack of sufficient tears.

When should I seek advice from a healthcare professional?

If your symptoms persist despite treating with regular over-the-counter products for a few weeks, consider consulting an ophthalmologist, pharmacist, optician or GP as they can help you to decide on a suitable treatment.

A recent 2,000+ person survey, commissioned by Santen in 2020, has revealed:

Despite women of menopausal or post-menopausal age, regular screen users and contact lens wearers being among the most likely groups to have dry eye, more than half (53%) of those surveyed didn’t realise they were at risk.

Nearly a third (32%) of those with dry eye agreed that they didn't know where to find information about the condition.

Almost half (42%) of those who were taking treatment for their dry eye said it took between 1 and 3 years to find an effective treatment.

More than a third (38%) of dry eye sufferers surveyed said they didn’t use dry eye treatments, and of those that did, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) admitted they were unhappy with their current treatment.


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Document number: NP-FOTE-UKIE-0026. Date of preparation: November 2020