Dry Eye

A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation that feels like having sand in your eye.
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Who gets dry eye?

Between 1 in 10 to 1 in 3 people suffer from dry eye disease. It becomes more common with increasing age and affects women more than men.


You may first notice dry eyes after having difficulty wearing contact lenses or driving at night. You may even get watery eyes. Blurred vision and eye fatigue are common. If you have prolonged symptoms of dry eyes, including red, tired or painful eyes, call me so I can determine what’s bothering you and treat it.


You experience a stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes. You may be sensitive to light, have eye redness, and the sensation of having something gritty in your eyes.


You might awaken to find you have a sticky and stringy mucus in or around your eyes. Your eyes may feel stuck shut in the morning and you may feel the immediate need to rub them. You may notice the whites of your eyes are red when looking in the mirror. As you brush your teeth you may notice you can’t see clearly. You may experience dry eyes in certain situations, such as on an aeroplane, in an air-conditioned room, while riding a bike or after looking at a computer screen for a few hours. You might find it hard to focus after working at the computer for a while. Blinking a few times will bring your eyes back into focus. When out for a walk in the wind, your eyes start to spontaneously water. The day-long grittiness makes your eyes feel tired when watching TV in the evening.


You may notice you become irritable and easily frustrated, causing you to appear less friendly to others. People may assume you are emotional, especially if you’re prone to excessively watering eyes as your body responds to the irritation of dry eyes.


Don’t worry, it can be temporary. If you are considering having laser eye surgery and have symptoms of dryness, itching, discomfort or stinging, then it is crucial that you have a thorough dry eye assessment. If necessary, I will provide you with treatment for your dry eye disease to maximise the health of your ocular surface before I perform any eye surgery for you.

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My patients love their lives after vision correction

“Mr Shortt was very patient and kind with me while I had a little bit of a freak out directly before surgery. He quickly put me at ease and reassured me that nothing would be done until I was 100% ok with it. I cannot recommend Mr Shortt and his team highly enough, patient, caring and very professional.”

Nicki O.

“Quite simply the best medical experience I’ve had. Mr Shortt’s knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail was faultless and the aftercare absolutely Impeccable.”


“I cannot recommend Mr Shortt highly enough. Very organised and gets back to you quickly with any questions you have. Is very thorough in his explanations and makes you feel at ease before surgery. Surgery was quick and the results were brilliant. Aftercare was top notch as well.”

Ross G.

“I had LASIK done 2 weeks ago and it was the best decision ever! The procedure was very quick, painless and the result was instant. Dr Alex Shortt was very competent and easy to talk to. He’s calm, knowledgeable and a charming person.”

Natasha, LASIK

“Mr Alex Shortt successfully performed Lens Replacement Surgery on both my eyes on the 13th October 2017. The care that I have received from Alex and his team through out the process has been amazing. Choosing Mr Shortt as my surgeon was one of the best decisions that I have made. I would very highly recommend Mr Shortt. l will always be grateful to Alex for the amazing care and results I’ve received – thank you!”

Roma A., Lens replacement

“Excellent care by a first class consultant. Would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Alex Shortt. Puts you at ease, explains every aspect of the treatment he is going to adminster and his care and professionalism are excellent. He is simply the best.”

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“Don’t want to write a load of waffle so people get bored. All I can say is if you are thinking of having eye surgery go and speak to Mr Shortt. You won’t be disappointed. We need more surgeons of his high standard in the UK.”

Andy D.

“Mr Alex Shortt’s manner and brilliant skills are of the highest professional and caring standard one could ever expect to receive. I am now living in a bright new world no longer needing spectacles after wearing bifocal lenses for the past 24 years.”

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“I can honestly say the care I’ve received has been outstanding. Nothing has ever been too much trouble, he has taken the time to explain everything in detail, and has gone above and beyond on multiple occasions to ensure I get everything I need. He has always treated me respectfully and ensured we have made decisions together. I’ll always be grateful to Alex for the amazing care I’ve received.”

“During the procedure Dr Shortt explained what he was doing every step of the way. This really made me feel at ease and reassured throughout. He made the whole procedure very simple.”


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Supplementary information about dry eye

In my expert hands, you certainly don’t need to know all of the information I’ve included in the toggles below. If you’d like to know how it all works, however, open them and learn more.

The term “dry eye” covers many different eye conditions where an imbalance in the volume or quality of the tears results in inflammation and damage to the surface of the eye. Patients have varying degrees of dry eye symptoms from occasional discomfort and stinging to severe pain and inability to see.

Dry eye can result either from a reduction in tear production or from a reduction in tear quality. In many contact lens wearers the long term effects of contact lens use result in a reduction in tear quality. Dry eye can be treated but requires specialist knowledge and frequently requires prescribed medication.

Vision correction surgery, whether laser or lens based, can result in the development or exacerbation of troublesome dry eye symptoms post-operatively. This is important in patients considering vision correction surgery because correction of this type of dry eye before surgery results in less problems during recovery.

In the case of LASIK, the creation of a corneal flap causes damage to the corneal nerves. This results in reduced tear production due to the corneal numbness associated with nerve damage and reduced tear quality due to the inflammation. Control of inflammation and replacement of tear with a high quality lubricant are essential principles in the management of LASIK associated dry eye.

Dry eye symptoms and lifestyle impacts
Symptoms may include

  • blurry vision
  • itching
  • redness
  • discomfort or
  • pain.

Unfortunately, many people with dry eyes fail to get treatment or even a diagnosis due to a lack of understanding of the symptoms.

I am a specialist in the ocular surface and can ensure that I accurately diagnose and treat your dry eye condition. I am particularly interested in managing patients who have dry eyes related to contact lens wear and who are seeking laser eye surgery to get out of contact lenses.

Ocular surface disorders require diagnosis, treatment plans, excellent care, and management of this specialist area. You can again have fantastic vision with the right guidance and medical attention.

Dry Eye assessment in London
A full dry eye assessment includes measurements of the volume and the quality of your tears. I can measure these clinical indicators objectively using a specialised device called the Oculus Keratograph K5.

Dry eye and laser eye surgery
In patients seeking laser eye surgery, a thorough dry eye assessment is required. Laser eye surgery, particularly LASIK, results in an increase in dry eye related symptoms and problems, so it is essential that your surgeon has expert knowledge of this condition

If you are considering having laser eye surgery and have symptoms of dryness, itching, discomfort or stinging, then it is crucial that you have a thorough dry eye assessment.

As I’ve noted above, a dry eye assessment should include objective measurements of your tear production and tear quality. If necessary, I will provide you with treatment for your dry eye disease to maximise the health of your ocular surface before I perform any eye surgery for you.

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About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including stem cell cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

Learn more about me