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What are dry eyes?

Find out about common symptoms and if you could be at risk

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What are dry eyes?

Like its name suggests, dry eyes (sometimes known as dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease), is a condition where the eyes are drier than they should be because they don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly.4 Dry eyes are common and can be temporary or chronic – meaning it stays with a person for life, often with periods where symptoms get better or worse, but never completely goes away.3,5

For most people it’s not serious, but if you’re reading this, then you probably know only too well that dry eyes can make you feel uncomfortable and not look your best. In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as infection, inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface (scratches, ulcers and vision loss).6 The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to get some relief and avoid lasting damage.

Symptoms of dry eyes

A useful rule of thumb is that if you’re not able to keep your eyes open for 10 seconds or longer, you could have dry eyes. You may also notice one or more of the following symptoms:7

Burning eye graphic
Burning sensation
Heavy eye graphic
Heavy feeling to eyes
Sandy eye graphic
Sandy feeling in your eye
Blurry eye graphic
Blurry vision

You might also experience: sensitivity to light, eye strain, feeling like there is something in your eye8 or more watery eyes than normal.

Did you know?

Oddly enough, having more watery eyes than normal is also a sign of dry eye.9 This is because if your tears don’t contain the right balance of water, electrolytes, mucus and fatty oils, the body can overcompensate by producing too many tears.

Man at desk rubbing eyes

Causes of dry eyes

Dry eyes are very common! Up to 100 million people are thought to be affected globally,10 including 1 in 4 in the UK.11 Anyone can develop dry eyes, but you’re most at risk if you:12

  • Are going through, or have gone through, the menopause
  • Wear contact lenses
  • Use screens for extended periods without breaks
  • Are aged 50 and above

Genetics, hormones, environment, irritants, lifestyle, pre-existing health conditions, eye surgery and certain medications can all play a role too.13,14

Find out who’s at risk.

Woman lying down and using dehumidifier


Treating dry eyes can be as simple as topping up your tears. Eye drops, such as Cationorm® can boost your body’s own natural protective layer of tears, rehydrate and quickly relieve discomfort.

You can also try lifestyle changes to prevent your eye’s natural tears from evaporating so quickly, such as:

  • avoiding windy or very dry conditions,
  • limiting use of air conditioning,
  • taking regular breaks from using computer screens,
  • using a humidifier and reducing intake of alcohol can be helpful.15,16

Find out more about dry eyes triggers and lifestyle tips.

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Cationorm® is a first-of-a-kind eye drop that acts like the body’s natural tears to provide long-lasting relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes. Kind to even sensitive eyes, Cationorm® is preservative free and is suitable for contact lens wearers. Always read the label.

Try Cationorm®
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Learn more

Common triggers

Find out the lifestyle changes which can help reduce your symptoms of dry eye, from desktop, to dinnertime.

Read more

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Risk factors

Medical conditions and hormonal changes such as Menopause can result in eyes becoming dry. Read our info on what medical conditions could be risk factors for dry eyes.

Read more

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