How It All Started

Hello lovely people,

My name is Ellie. I am 27 years old and have severe Dry Eyes, Ocular Surface Disease and Blepharitis. I have had this for almost 5 years and have only really started to fully understand and accept it. It has affected my life greatly and even stopped me from doing the things I love, mainly fashion modelling. The flashing lights got too much for my eyes to handle (at this stage I was unaware I had severe Dry Eyes) and one day I had to go to hospital. Without knowing, I had Dry Eyes for over a year and so by the time I found out it was too late to repair the damage to my eyes. I will now forever have this problem.

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5 years ago, after graduating from University, I wouldn’t leave the house due to having severe headaches, severe photo sensitivity and burning (red) eyes. I would wear my dark lens sunglasses everywhere, even at home. I would always turn off the lights off at home because I couldn’t bare any light. I wasn’t able to work because the lights in normal stores & buildings were too much for my eyes to handle and so I became depressed.

I was told most people that have SEVERE dry eyes are over the age of 60… So I was asking: Why do I have it then? How was it caused? Why was I fine and then suddenly I have severe dry eyes? Why can’t I wear makeup without my eyes burning? Why do I have to put eye drops in over 10x a day but still have dry eyes? 👀

I visit Moorefield’s Eye Hospital once or twice a year and have probably seen over 10 different Ophthalmologists 👨‍⚕️.

This is my journey and here I will share all my knowledge on Dry Eyes, MGD and Ocular Surface Disease 👁 and how I have managed to maintain a normal lifestyle using various products and making certain lifestyle changes that work for me.

Ellie 🙂 x

First blog post

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Travelling Part 1 – Vietnam & Cambodia – Dry Eyes, Blepharitis & MGD

“I was a bit worried at first…”

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It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted but I am back! Back In February/March I went travelling to Vietnam & Cambodia. I was a bit worried at first due to the amount of maintenance I have to keep up with my eyes but I am going to share how I kept my eye routine going. Having Dry Eyes, Blepharitis and MGD should not stop you from travelling!

I  pre-planned everything I needed, which included planning for “worst case scenarios”. For example, hot weather always makes my eyes 100 x worse, as does alcohol. Two of the main things I would have on a regular basis! I prepared by drinking lots of water regularly, always wearing my sunglasses and a hat, using my eye drops and ointments regularly throughout the day.

Taking extra precautions

Aeroplanes  – Many people experience dry eyes after extended travel by air. The dry environment of a temperature and pressure-controlled aeroplane cabin can take its toll on anyone’s eyes, let alone someone with severe Dry Eyes, Blepharitis or MGD. Because of this I always apply eye-lubricant before and during the flight. I also topped up with eye drops and since dehydration makes dry eye symptoms worse, I drank plenty of water. I chose not to wear eye makeup on the flight from UK to Vietnam due to the long flight (10 hours).

USB Travel Heat Mask – the best thing I bought was a travel eye mask for heat therapy. It has temperature control and heats up through USB. The one I use here in the UK needs to be warmed up in a microwave. There were not going to be any microwaves available for me in the hotel rooms and a wet flannel doesn’t work well enough for me. I would use it just before bed and got mine from Amazon!

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Carry a mirror around at all times

I put my drops and eye lubricants in anywhere, I don’t care where I am; in a restaurant, in a museum, on the train, on the street, literally anywhere. It used to bother me before when people looked or asked me questions but I couldn’t care less anymore lol. I have a mirror cover on the back of my phone so that I always have a mirror at hand. I do have to ask whoever’s with me to hold the mirror though, sometimes they get annoyed but if I don’t put them in my eyes will burn 1000x more than the usual amount so……

Makeup

This was the difficult part. I didn’t wear any eye makeup in the day as I was mainly in the sun with my sunglasses on by the pool/beach or visiting museums so didn’t really care as much what I looked like. I was jealous though that I couldn’t even wear mascara or get false permanent lashes like my friends for long periods of time in the day. My rule was to not wear makeup in the day and then treat myself (lol) at night for dinner/nights out. This way I would only have the makeup on for 2-5 hours max. Plus wearing makeup at night would be less painful as there was no sun!

Makeup Routine – So before applying any eye makeup I apply Lacrilube or Xailin Night ointment. I then carry on with the rest of my makeup (foundation etc),  to allow time for the lubricant to work. I then clean my eyes with Blephasol/facewipe to get rid of any excess greasy residue from the ointment and start my eye makeup. All the eye makeup I use is hypoallergenic and mostly catered specifically for dry eyes (see previous posts). I did have to top up my eye lubricant while out which is annoying as it leaves a greasy residue under my eyes and ultimately ruins my eye makeup. But I’d much rather that than no eye makeup at all for a night out.

Alcohol

Alcohol makes dry eyes a lot worse. I tried not to drink loads unless on a night out or if I did, I would have a glass of water for every 1 drink of alcohol. This was not always the case as there was always the odd one night where you’re having fun and forget but then the morning after my eyes were burning and were very red. So I tried my best to drink lots of water when drinking alcohol!

Struggles

There were many days where my eyes were burning, especially when in 35 degrees heat/sun. The air conditioning also irritated my eyes but it was too hot to not have on in the room. It can be difficult sticking to the routine above and some days you’re just like whyyyyyyyyyy do I have to do all this??? But don’t let the frustrations get the better of you. Once you accept it and get yourself into a routine, you will feel much better and carry on doing things you would normally do.

I hope this has been helpful for anyone struggling with Dry Eyes, Blephairits or MGD and debating going travelling 🙂

In my next post I will share the makeup and makeup remover’s I used whilst away.

I will also do another blog post on my travel to a sunny 4 day festival abroad in Malta!

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Makeup Look – Eye Care Cosmetics

As you guys know I am really loving Eyecare Cosmetics at the moment.

This brand has not irritated my eyes once since trailing and now using. They have such a wide range of products and colours which I also really love.

I have created a look below using Cream Eye-shadows, Eyeliner and Lengthening mascara all by Eyecare Cosmetics (Butterflies Eyecare).


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As you can see, the eyeliner is not touching the direct edge of my lid/lashes. I leave a gap to avoid irritation that occurs with my eyes.


Eye Care Eye Shadow Cream High Tolerance

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Colours: Cinnamon and Chocolate.

These cream eye shadows are so easy to apply, so much quicker than the powder shadows that I no longer can use. They also look great on and stayed on for the whole day. I tend to use a tiny bit of eyecare concealer on my eye lids as a base which may contribute to it staying on longer. Would defo recommend these and they come in lots of different colours!

 


Eye Care Fluid Eyeliner

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Colour: Black

This eye liner has a much thinner wand than I am used to. This is probably a good thing though as eye liner is the only thing really that irritates my eyes the most. So using a thin wand will mean less eyeliner and less irritation. This didn’t irrtate me as much as any other brand I have tried but I did still have to use my eye lubricants and drops a little more than if I wasn’t using eye liner.

 

 

 

 


Eye Care Long-Lash Mascara

mascara lengthening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colour: Black

This mascara is definitely my favourite out of this brand. I prefer a lengthening mascara so this mascara wand is a lot thinner than the last one I tried which meant I could really lengthen my lashes, and they looked great! This brand is the least irritating I have tried for my eyes, I have ditched my high street brand mascaras now and use this as it’s aimed for my sensitive/dry eyes!

Facebook Support Group for Dry Eyes

Hello everyone

I wanted to write a blog post dedicated to a Facebook Support Group that I found before Christmas for Dry Eyes, MGD & Blepharitis. I wish I had found this group 6 years ago. This is a private group and I feel it may help others who haven’t already heard of it.

Having this invisible disease makes you feel like you’re the only one going through it because more often than not, the people around us do not understand it…

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This group allows us to speak to others with the same condition and symptoms. It allows us to share what products and methods we have or haven’t tried. It allows us to share our frustrations about having dry eyes and how useless most of the doctors have been towards helping us.

The founder of this page is Mario and he has almost cured his blepharitis and MGD by studying dry eyes as he equally felt the doctors were just trying to mask the issue rather than fix it.

You should check out the Facebook page called “Blepharitis Advice and Support Centre” as Mario has pinned posts about how he has almost completely got rid of his blepharitis and MGD by making certain lifestyle and diet changes.

Thank you to this group for always helping one another with our own experiences 🙂

Waterproof Makeup Tutorial / Review – Sensitive eyes

Hello everyone 💄! !

As I always have to use eye lubricants in the day, as well as before bed, I always have an oily residue under my eye from using Lacrilube or Xailin gel. This therefore ruins my eye makeup when I do decide to apply on special occasions.

Because of this I decided I wanted to find waterproof eye makeup catered towards sensitive/dry eyes. I also wanted to find waterproof products for summer holidays as a lot of people have messaged and requested for this.

Below I will share the waterproof products I tried and the outcome of each along with a makeup tutorial video. I came across Eye Care Cosmetics randomly online when I was ordering my eye drops from Butterflies website. I noticed Butterflies Eyecare had cosmetics on their website aimed for sensitive/dry eyes.

IMPORTANT: I never apply makeup on my lash line, inside my lash line or the roots of my lashes as that is where my irritation occurs. Ensure you take your own irritation into account as everyone is different and have their own unique symptoms.


Makeup Tutorial Video

 

To avoid irritation: On my eye lid, you will notice that I leave a line (just above my lash-line) where I have not applied any makeup. E.g. so where you normally apply eyeliner, I leave it makeup free and you can see my skin ever so slightly. If I close my eyes on the tutorial you will be able to see this. Once applying mascara you can’t tell so much. I never apply eye shadow directly on the edge or on my lash line any more since having dry eyes. This is to avoid irritation.


Concealer. (Applied small amount with fingertip above lash line & with brush undereye)water3

Colour: Bronze
This concealer is great for a base before eye shadows as well as good for covering sports etc like a normal concealer. I used this before applying the eye shadow pencil and it helped it stay in place.


Waterproof Mascara. (Applied on the ends of my lashes after using an eyelash curler.)

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Colour: Black

I found this to be quite tolerable as I never apply mascara on the roots of my lashes anymore. It also made my lashes look great! I was able to apply my Lacrilube eye gel without it effecting my lashes too as it is waterproof. It was surprisingly easy to remove which I was very happy with.


Waterproof Eye Shadow Pencil. (Applied above lash line and under the eye – but not inside the eyelid line!)

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Colour: Spice & Plum
I absolutely love this eye shadow pencil. I am so happy to have found alternative makeup products to powder eye shadows in cream shadow sticks. This did not irritate my eyes at all and stayed in place even with my eye gels which I was super happy about. Can’t wait to use this on holiday!


Waterproof Eye Brow Pencil. 

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Colour: Dark
I love this eyebrow pencil and the look it gives. I had a very similar one from MAC but this one is much bigger and it is even cheaper than the MAC eyebrow pencil so you get more for your money! It is also waterproof which means it wont budge. I am forever touching my face and eyebrows…


About This Brand:

Eye Care Cosmetics  – As well as specialist manufacturing techniques, the Eye Care Cosmetics range is designed to be as free-from as many chemical or irritating ingredients as possible. This, along with the careful selection of active ingredients and ultra-micronisation of particles, is why the products are so suitable for people with sensitive eyes.

Dry Eyes over the Christmas period

Hello – I hope everyone had a great Christmas! 🎄✨🎅🏽🎁⛄️

I just wanted to share a post about dry eyes over the Christmas period. My eyes definitely got worse due to a number of reasons: One of the reasons was that when I went home for Christmas, I consumed foods and drinks that I would normally avoid…

Eating and drinking the wrong foods/drinks can worsen dry eyes. Here are a few I have been advised to avoid:

> Junk food

> Fried foods

> Salts

> Alcohol

> Cakes

> Refined sugar

> Too much red meat

> Dairy products

> Caffeine

Alcohol is the biggest eye trigger for me so I tend to avoid drinking unless celebrating for those rare special occasions.

Alcohol dries out your eyes and your entire body. I always try and drink one glass of water to each glass of alcohol to rehydrate myself.

Central heating:

The central heating impacted my eyes massively, I never have central heating on at my house. As everyone else in my family was cold, which is understandable as it’s freezing, this made my eyes really inflame and dry out even more so. I was constantly inserting my eye drops and eye lubricants (thank god I have plugs in my eyes as well). I moved my bed as far from the heater as possible and also used my sleeping mask to try and protect my eyes but I could definitely tell the difference with my eyes ☹️

I am now home though and central heating free! I’ve decided I will be investing in a humidifier. Let me know your thoughts if you have or had a humidifier. X

Christmas Party Look: Sensitive / Dry eyes

Hi ladies

As the Christmas season is upon us, there may be Christmas parties coming our way. Whether that be with work, family or friends. As I like to rest my eyes and keep them makeup-free everyday, I like to do the total opposite for special occasions.

This is the look below that I used for my Christmas work party. Slowly, slowly I have been updating my makeup bag. Removing the bad products and replacing with the good. No more powder based products, and lots of cream based products instead. Lots more makeup aimed specifically for sensitive/dry eyes and a lot less mainstream branded makeup.

I feel the need to mention again, that what works for me, may not work for you as everyone has different eyes and different symptoms. I am simply sharing what works for me. 

I always apply Lacrilube & optive fusion eyedrops before and during wearing eye makeup as my main problem is severe dry eyes. I avoid applying makeup directly onto my lash line as that is where my irritation also occurs.

Makeup Look:

Dry Eyes

Breakdown of the makeup brands and products used for my eyes:

Brands:

KIKO– the KIKO make up line undergoes careful, in-depth clinical testing to produce hypoallergenic products formulated to minimize allergy risks; they are non-comedogenic (face make up) and ophthalmologically tested (eye make up).

Eye Care Cosmetics – As well as specialist manufacturing techniques, the Eye Care Cosmetics range is designed to be as free-from as many chemical or irritating ingredients as possible. This, along with the careful selection of active ingredients and ultra-micronisation of particles, is why the products are so suitable for people with sensitive eyes.

Products used:

KIKO – Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow (Black) – Above my lash line and under my eye with eyeshadow brush.

Eye Care Cosmetics (Butterflies Eyecare) – High Tolerance Mascara (Black)

Eye Care Cosmetics (Butterflies Eyecare) – Felt Pen Eyeliner

(All available in other colours)

Eyecare Cosmetics – Butterflies Eyecare website

KIKO Cosmetics website

Don’t forget to thoroughly remove your eye makeup! I have 3 steps:

  1. No 7 Hypoallergenic makeup wipes
  2. Huggies baby wipes with aloe Vera
  3. Blephasol Eye ointment with a cotton pad

And then I use my heat therapy mask just before bed!

Ellie x

Hypo-allergenic Mascara Review

Hey guys. I thought I would share some of the mascaras I have reviewed for my dry eyes. I don’t usually wear mascara Monday-Friday for work but I like to at the weekends or special occasions. I also avoid applying mascara on the tip of my lashes as this aggravates my eyes. So I thought I would investigate mascaras that don’t burn my eyes after half an hour of wearing it! I looked into lots of hypoallergenic mascaras and those aimed for sensitive/dry eyes.

Note: I never wear any sort of eye makeup unless I use my eye lubricants and eye drops.

Below I will share whether or not the mascara irritated my eyes with a score out of 5.

5 = Extreme Irritation     1 = No Irritation

These are all hypoallergenic mascaras aimed for sensitive eyes.


La Roche Posay. (Respectissime Volume Mascara)  Irritation Level = 2.5   

“for sensitive eyes”

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This mascara made my lashes look great. However, after about an hour it started to irritate my eyes. It is a great alternative to mainstream mascaras as it didn’t irritate as severe as mainstream brands, but there are better sensitive mascaras I have tried.

  WOULD I BUY AGAIN? No.


No 7. (Extreme Length Sensitive Eyes Mascara)      Irritation Level = 4     

“sensitive eyes mascara”

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I was excited to try this as I liked the wand as it was similar to the mainstream wand I used to use years ago. However, this mascara was breaking off my lashes and getting into my eyes so this therefore irritated my eyes quite a bit. I would not buy this again.

WOULD I BUY AGAIN?  No.


Eyecare Cosmetics (High Tolerance Mascara).         Irritation Level = 1       My fave!!

“mascara for dry or sensitive eyes”

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This mascara had a bigger brush than I’m normally used to as I like to use thin wands usually. However, it did not irritate my eyes at all and made my lashes look great after applying a 2nd coat. I was able to wear this all day with hardly any irritation and it did not break off my lashes either. It was also very easy to remove so this is definitely my favorite new mascara 🙂

WOULD I BUY AGAIN?  Yes.

Butterflies Eye Care Cosmetics website

My next post to follow on Butterflies eyecare and how amazing their range is!

The Makeup Debate with Dry Eyes

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The Makeup Debate 
For those that may not already know, wearing “normal” mainstream makeup brands is a no-no for almost all dry eyes sufferers. I recently had a debate about whether or not dry eye sufferers should be wearing eye makeup at all.
For over 6 years once finding out I had severe dry eyes and MGD at 22, I was constantly asking doctors and specialists for help on what makeup brands/products I could use that wouldn’t irritate my eyes. I was also asking what ingredients I should avoid. Their reply? “don’t wear makeup”.

Wearing makeup can irritate dry eyes as it can get into the eyes and make the tears break down even more. I understand this because at first I didn’t listen to the doctors and continued to use the makeup I had from mainstream stores (it is extremely unrealistic to tell a 22 year old to not wear makeup) and it did make my eyes worse using mainstream makeup. I then decided to cut makeup out of my life for a short while. This improved my dry eyes. However, it was the makeup I was using that was aggravating my eyes and the fact that no one guided me on using safety makeup techniques to not aggravate dry eyes. (See my previous blog post on makeup safety tips)
After been told continuously the answer was to not wear makeup at the age of 22, there was no chance I was going to accept it. Telling young girls and women of all ages not to wear makeup is unrealistic and lazy.

I have found certain ways I can wear makeup again without worsening my dry eyes….

Safe-Makeup
There needs to be a discussion surrounding safe makeup for dry eye sufferers. I have learnt over the years that by using specific safety makeup application techniques and specific brands / products catered for sensitive / dry eyes, that it is in fact possible to wear makeup without irritating your eyes. The makeup removal process is equally as important, if not more important which I will be discussing in my next blog post. I personally choose not to wear eye makeup in the week Monday – Friday as I work on a computer screen all day, 5 times a week which irritates my dry eyes as well as the central heating/air conditioning in the work office. However, if I choose to wear makeup for meetings, work-dos, on weekends, special occasions etc then it is important to know what makeup to use, what makeup to avoid and the techniques to use that don’t aggravate dry eyes.

 
Knowing your problematic areas and taking these into account when deciding what makeup to wear or avoid, will allow you to apply safe makeup.

Eye Lubricant Gels & Makeup
I also use eye lubricant gels in the morning and afternoon. People usually just use this at night as they give off a greasy gel under the eye. I just wipe this away after an hour and re-apply my under eye makeup. I use eye gels 3 times a day. An example of a routine I use if choosing to wear makeup:
Apply eye lubricant (Lacrilube) when I wake up in the morning, apply makeup, add more lubricant with makeup on after a few hours and then top up with eye drops if/when necessary. Remove makeup thoroughly and then apply night eye gel before bed.
 

Remember, Everyone Has Different Eyes & Symptoms
Of course, everyone has different eyes, different symptoms, different levels of MGD, Dry Eye, Blepharitis and what works for one person may not work at all for someone else. Like I said, everyone’s eyes are different so a lot of it is individual trial and error. For example, for me heat therapy gives me so much relief, however I have heard from other sufferers with the same condition, that heat therapy aggravates their eyes. This proves that everyone is unique to their dry eye condition. I luckily do not get really swollen eye lids like other people I know. My symptoms lay more severe with my actual eyes being so severely dry and my gland dysfunction. I therefore avoid applying mascara on the roots of my lashes and apply shadows above my lash line.

It’s very important to remember: You yourself know what you can and cannot use due to your own unique symptoms. Knowing your problematic areas and taking these into account when deciding what makeup to wear or avoid, will allow you to wear safe makeup. What works for one person may not work for someone else.

Safety Techniques
See my previous blog post on safety cosmetic tips for dry eyes.

On my next post I will be sharing the makeup brands that did and didn’t irritate my eyes and the importance of makeup removal. Ellie x

14 Eye Cosmetic Safety Tips: Dry Eyes / Sensitive Eyes

cyprus18Ladies – if you, like myself, have sensitive or Dry eyes there are certain things you can do to avoid aggravating your eyes further!

Even if you have”normal” eyes, using some of the following safety steps could help prevent you from developing eye problems / infections in the near future.

What are some safety tips to using eye cosmetics?

 Apply eyeliner outside the lash line (away from the eye) to avoid direct contact of  the cosmetic with the eye. This means there will be less chance that the liner will flake off into the eye.

 Avoid waterproof mascara – Even though I know it’s tempting to try especially if your eyes water a lot, it impossible to remove from your eyelashes and has certain ingredients in that will aggravate Dry Eyes, MGD & Blepharitis.

 Try using hypoallergenic make-up to avoid excess irritation.

  Dry Eye sufferers: Apply eye drops / eye lubricant an hour or so before applying eye makeup.

 A plastic eyelash curler is better (if possible) rather than a metal one as regular metal eyelash curlers can cause irritation and dryness around the eye.

 Replace cosmetics every six months (and more often if you wear contact lenses) to avoid excess contamination with skin bacteria.

♥ Even though eye makeup removers are designed to use around the eye, annoyingly, they can irritate the eye. Make sure you apply them carefully to the eyelid and avoid getting them in to your eye.

♥ Avoid powder eye-shadows and other powder based products as the excess powder particles can get into the eye. Try cream eye shadows instead  (see previous post / tutorial on cream eye-shadows).

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♥ Never use an old applicator in a fresh cosmetic product. The applicator will transfer bacteria to the new cosmetic.

♥ After any eye infection, make sure to buy fresh eye makeup.

♥ Do not share your eye cosmetics with others. Each person has different skin bacteria. If you contaminate your cosmetics with another person’s bacteria, you may get an infection.

♥ If you use an eyelash curler, make sure the rubber is soft, not stiff and cracking. Always use the curler BEFORE applying mascara.

 Avoid colored mascara – black is meant to be the least irritating.

♥ Never use saliva to thin old or clumped makeup or to wet a mascara wand. Your saliva contains bacteria from your mouth.

Hope that helps! Ellie x

Understanding an Invisible Disease

Unfortunately, a lot of cases often go undiagnosed and undertreated, due to a lack of understanding of symptoms and inaccurate evaluation. This is why I started my blog – to raise awareness of this invisible disease.

 

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome? MGD? Blepharitis? Ocular Surface Disease?

Dry Eye Syndrome: Dry Eye Syndrome or Dry Eye Disease, is a common condition that occurs when the eyes don’t make enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly which leads to the eyes drying out and becoming red, swollen and irritated. Dry Eye Syndrome is also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or simply “dry eyes”.

You are either classified as Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye (too little water or aqueous), Evaporative Dry Eye (too little oil) or BOTH, like me.

MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction): MGD is blockage or some other abnormality of the meibomian glands so they don’t secrete enough oil into the tears. Because the tears then evaporate too quickly, MGD is a leading cause of Dry Eye Syndrome. It also is associated with an eyelid problem called Blepharitis.

Blepharitis: Blepharitis is a common condition where the edges of the eyelids (eyelid margins) become red and swollen (inflamed). It can develop at any age, and symptoms can include: itchy, sore and red eyelids, a burning, gritty sensation in your eyes. Some people also suffer from eyelids that stick together.

Ocular Surface Disease (OSD): Ocular Surface Diseases are disorders of the surface of the cornea – the transparent layer that forms the front of the eye which can severely affect eyesight and quality of life. Symptoms include blurry vision, discomfort or pain, redness and itching, and in severe cases, blindness due to corneal scarring.

Unfortunately, I suffer from Dry Eyes, MGD, Blepharitis & Ocular Surface Disease.

However, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious complications and improve quality of life so make sure you visit your optician / ophthalmologist if you think you may suffer with any of the above symptoms 🙂