Common questions
about Dry Eye

This page answers questions about dry eye causes, symptoms, remedies, and products.

This information is to help you understand the causes of dry eye and the treatments available to you. It isn’t a substitute for advice from your eye care specialist about the best options for you.

What is Dry Eye

Frequently asked questions

We have two dry eye products that are compatible with all contact lenses. Hylo-Forte® eye drops for severe or chronic dry eye and post-operative use. Hylo®-Fresh eye drops for mild or moderate dry eye.
You should always consult your eye care specialist for a professional opinion, they will be able to perform diagnostic tests to determine your condition. Our product checker may help you choose the right product for you.

No, you do not need a prescription for any of our products. Some of our products are funded, see your healthcare professional for more information.

Our product checker lists many of the symptoms of dry eye and may help you choose the right product for your conditions. As a first course you should read this, but definitely see your eye care specialist for a professional opinion. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms listed here, you may have dry eye. There are a number of internal and external factors that can cause dry eye. We recommend you see your eye care specialist for a professional opinion.

The symptoms of dry eye can include grittiness or a feeling that there is actually something in your eye; there could also be a burning sensation. The severity experienced can range from mild discomfort to a stinging sensation that significantly impacts your ability to work or carry out daily tasks.

Potentially, yes, the thin layer of moisture that’s spread across your cornea whenever you blink forms a protective coating that lubricates your eyes and washes away any debris that might harm the surface of the eye. Without treatment, chronic dry eye can lead to eye infections, scarring and impaired vision.

There are some steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye, such as:

  • If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer consider taking breaks where you blink more frequently.
  • Wear glasses on windy days
  • Monitor indoor humidity
  • Have a healthy, nutritious diet and keep well hydrated
  • Quit smoking

Dry eye can be brought about by a range of internal and external factors such as:

  • The Environment – exposure to pollution, dust, smoke, pollen, or air-conditioning
  • Age – simply getting older is another factor in causing dry eye, as our bodies become less efficient at producing moisture
  • Gender – females have higher chance of suffering from dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, menopause, and oral contraceptives
  • Device use – screen use at work with computers or other devices can reduce the frequency of blinking, which dries out the eyes.
  • Medication – antihistamines or decongestants can cause dry eye. Ask your healthcare professional if your medication could be a cause of your dry eye symptoms.
  • Medical Conditions – rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems are more likely to produce dry eye symptoms. In rare cases, symptoms could be due to a disease called Sjögren’s Syndrome, which causes the white blood cells to mistakenly attack moisture producing glands.

This website has information about a range of proven dry eye products that have been used extensively in New Zealand, Australia, and worldwide. Each one has been specially formulated to help relieve symptoms of various dry eye conditions, so you should be able to find the right option to relieve your symptoms; you can read more about them here. Your eye care specialist will also be aware of our products and will be able to advise you as to which is best for you.

In addition to addressing the factors that could be causing dry eye (see What helps with dry eyes and how do I stop my eyes from being so dry? above) you should also consider using a specialist product for the management of dry eye. We have a range of easy-to-use preservative-free products designed to improve the tear film that coats the eye’s surface and your eye care specialist will be able to advise on these.

Some sources state that cold-water fish rich in omega-3 (salmon, sardines, herring and cod) can reduce dry eye symptoms. Or try flaxseed oil, which is recommended by some eye specialists. Aside from these, drink plenty of water, as even mild dehydration can make dry eye problems worse, especially during hot, dry or windy weather.

A healthy eye’s surface is covered by a tear film, which is replenished each time you blink. The tear film helps to protect and lubricate the eye, reduce risk of infection and washes away any foreign particles. The tear film comprises of three layers:

  1. The mucin layer, which is the inner-most layer, helps the tears stick to the surface of the eye and provides the cornea with nutrients.
  2. The aqueous layer, is comprised mostly of water, it lubricates the eye and washes away foreign particles.
  3. The lipid layer, is the outer-most layer, which helps reduce evaporation of natural tears.

The most common cause of dry eye is due to a deficiency of the lipid layer.

Need help choosing  the right eye care product?

Need help choosing the right eye care product?

Where to buy

NovaTears®, Hylo®, Opti-Soothe®, Vita-POS® and Cromo-Fresh products are available at selected optometrists and pharmacies throughout New Zealand.