Shanghai Eye Care

Shanghai eye care can become a serious concern for expats during their stay. Fortunately there are English speaking service providers in Shanghai who can help you with all your eye care needs. 

Let’s take a look at one of the most common Shanghai eye care issues for expats; dry eye.

Shanghai Eye Care

Dealing with Dry Eye in Shanghai

Living in Shanghai has its ups and downs and, like residents in many of the world’s biggest cities, pollution will inevitably become something that you have to deal with on a regular basis. If you also spend the majority of your waking hours in front of a computer screen, air pollution’s effect on your eyes may be even more noticeable.

Dry eye is one of the nagging health conditions that many people in Shanghai suffer from on a daily basis. But, unless you’re planning to either leave the city or to leave your job, you need to be proactive in finding ways to deal with dry eye effectively.

Fortunately, there are several international hospitals and clinics in Shanghai for expatriates where you can get medical advice on dealing with dry eye. 

What is Dry Eye

Dry eye is a condition characterized either by a decrease in the amount of tears you produce, or an increase in the evaporation of the layer (or film) of tears that coat your eye.

Dry eye can result in a feeling of general discomfort in the eye, and may create visual disturbances. It can also cause damage to the ocular surface, or the surface of the eye.  

Dry eye is by no means an unusual condition in China. A study conducted in northern China indicated that 21% of the country’s adult population experienced symptoms associated with dry eye.

Just as wearing air pollution masks has become the norm in China’s most cosmopolitan city, dealing with dry eye in Shanghai can easily become just another everyday way of adapting to your environment. 

What Does Dry Eye Feel Like

The sense that your eyes feel dry is just one of the symptoms of dry eye.

If you suffer from dry eye, you may also experience discomfort or pain, a burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, or itchiness. Some people feel as if there is something gritty stuck in their eye, scratching the eyeball.

Others experience blurred vision or light sensitivity. Tiredness or strain after reading for normal periods of time is also common. If your work or study routine involves reading or staring at a computer screen for several hours every day, dry eye can make your life rather unpleasant indeed.

Some people who suffer from dry eye will experience what seems like the opposite: their eyes won’t feel dry at all, and they will notice an excess of tears streaming from their eyes.

These, however, are not high quality tears with the ability to lubricate the eye properly. They are mostly composed of water and, while they will wash debris away, they do not coat the ocular surface well enough.

Shanghai Eye Clinic

What Causes Dry Eye

Dry eye can be caused by:

  • The natural aging process
  • Certain eye surgeries
  • Being a smoker, or being regularly exposed to smokers’ second-hand smoke
  • Exposure to Air pollution
  • Long-term computer/smart-phone use
  • A dry environment (such as places with excessive air conditioning, heat, or wind)

The connection between dry eye syndrome and living in big, often polluted, cities was confirmed in a study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The study found that a dry eye diagnosis was three to four times more likely among residents of New York City and Chicago, compared to residents of less urban, less-polluted areas of the United States.

How Do I Know if I Have Dry Eye

Although the symptoms described above will provide clues as to whether you are suffering from dry eye, the condition needs to be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist in order to be properly treated.

Your Shanghai eye care doctor will conduct one or more of the following types of eye exams: 

  • A tear breakup time (TBUT) test
  • A measurement of the rate of tear production
  • A visual acuity test
  • A slit-lamp exam

Shanghai Eye Care: Treating Dry Eye

Like you, your eyes are unique. The treatments for dealing with dry eye syndrome that work best for you will not necessarily be effective for somebody else. Your ophthalmologist will discuss all your treatment options, which may include one or more of the following: 


Nutrition can play a large role in alleviating the symptoms of dry eye, which goes to show how dealing with dry eye is very much in your hands. Increase your intake of fish oil, either by eating larger quantities of oily fish, or by taking supplements such as salmon or krill oil, which are rich in omega-3.


Just as your environment can aggravate or lead to dry eye, so it can help you to deal with dry eye’s symptoms. Research by the American Academy of Ophthalmology showed that maintaining a comfortable level of humidity in your home or workplace and using a high-quality air filter are both helpful to patients suffering from dry eye syndrome.

Artificial teardrops:

This is the most common treatment for dry eye. There are several types of artificial teardrops on the market, and you may need to try a few before finding the eye drops that work best for you.

For some people, keeping a small bottle of artificial teardrops with them at all times makes the world of difference. If your eyes tend to become dry while you sleep, you can use a variety of more viscous eye drops before you go to bed.

Anti-inflammatory eye drops:

Sometimes dry eye is caused by inflammation of the eye, in which case anti-inflammatory medications can help you to manage the symptoms. Clinical improvements have been noted in the use of corticosteroids, tacrolimus, and cyclosporine A. As always, be sure to discuss your suitability for specific medications with your Shanghai eye care doctor first.

Punctal occlusion (or tear drainage duct occlusion):

This is a procedure that ophthalmologists use to temporarily close the lacrimal punctum (or tear duct), from where tears drain out of the eye. A dissolving plug is initially inserted into the tear duct to establish whether or a permanent plug can provide a long-term solution for supplying the eye with sufficient tears.

Shanghai New Vision Eye Clinic

About The Author

New Vision Eye Clinic's staff of leading Shanghai eye care doctors and ophthalmologists provide personalized eye care at three clinics in Shanghai. New Vision Eye Clinic is a pioneer in ophthalmology, and is proud to have surgeons who were among the first to perform laser eye surgery in both China and North America as part of the team.

Since opening in 1996, New Vision Eye Clinic has remained at the forefront of cutting-edge Shanghai eye care research. New Vision Eye Clinic’s headquarters are at a specialist medical facility in downtown Shanghai, where you can meet their team of English-speaking eye doctors and ophthalmologists.

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