7 Surprising Things That Could Be Affecting Your Eyes

Extreme close-up of a young woman wearing eyeglasses


Do you sometimes feel your eyes have had enough?  Tired, gritty, watery, blurry… here are some surprising reasons why they might be unhappy!

1. Hormones

Changes to our hormone levels can mean dry eyes and discomfort.  There are times in our lives when eyes become noticeably more dry, especially for ladies: pregnancy and menopause can both throw a spanner in the eye comfort works.  Symptoms of dryness oddly enough include watering and gritty, tired feeling eyes.  Use ‘artificial tear’ moisturising drops to get you through the gritty times and be sure to visit your optician to confirm it isn’t anything more serious.

2. Central Heating

Having the heating on full-blast might mean you’re snuggly and warm but it can also deplete the natural layer of moisture on the surface of your eyes – again making them feel sore and tired.  Same goes for vents in the car, air conditioning and any other particularly drying environment.  Try and keep the vents blowing away from your eyes, turn the heating down a notch, use moisturising drops if you need and – you’ve guessed it – see your optician if it doesn’t help.

3. Medication

Your optician will always ask what medications you take.  They’re not just being nosy – some medications really can have side-effects we need to look out for.  Steroid users should get an eye exam every year, to look out for changes in the eye pressure and any signs of cataract.  Other medications can also cause cataracts and deposits in the cornea and retina – whilst fairly rare, do always let us know what you’re taking so we can monitor you effectively.

4. Diabetes & Blood Pressure

If you feel like your vision’s changing day to day, don’t ignore it – blurred vision or fluctuations in your sight can be a warning sign for diabetes.  Over time, unchecked high blood pressure and diabetes can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the retina leaving sight permanently impaired – so it’s really important that these conditions are monitored closely and kept in check.  Our OCT scanner can really help us check that your retina is completely normal, if you’re at all worried.

5. Arthritis

Anyone who suffers with arthritis will be more prone to dry eye syndrome.  Some types of arthritis and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also cause inflammation inside the eye (known as iritis or uveitis) which requires specialist treatment to prevent it causing vision problems.  We recommend anyone with an inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondilitis makes sure they get their eyes checked annually to look out for any telltale signs – or sooner if eyes ever get particularly red, uncomfortable or light-sensitive.

6. Staring at Screens

We’re definitely putting our eyes through their paces more than ever in these times where we’re constantly attached to a computer screen, phone or tablet.  Many of us find this causes dryness, irritation and eyestrain – and we know we should take breaks every 20 minutes but sometimes that’s hard to do in real life!  Soothing comfort drops and being sure to blink regularly can help, as can making sure your glasses prescription is bang up to date.  Early evidence is emerging to show that ageing of the eye (such as macular degeneration) can be accelerated by blue light… and guess what screens emit plenty of..?  Lens manufacturers are working hard to produce everyday lenses that filter harmful light and our supplier Essilor is about to launch their protective lens for regular screen users.  We’ll be looking closely at developments over the next few months so watch this space (but do take a break every 20 minutes)!

7. Smoking

Sorry smokers, more nagging… the toxic chemicals in cigarettes are pretty bad news for eyes.  We know that smokers are twice as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, as well as getting cataracts and diabetic eye disease much earlier than their non-smoking peers.  If ever there were a good reason to consider quitting, we think keeping your eyesight probably has to be up there!

If there’s anything you’d like to ask or want to know more on, just get in touch.  We’re always here to help!  And if you’d like to know even more things you can do to look after your peepers, read on by clicking here!


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