The older you get, the higher your risk of developing dry eye syndrome (DES).
While 2.7% of people aged 18-34 have chronic dry eye symptoms, that number jumps to 18.6% in people over 75. Women are at greater risk than men.
People with dry eye syndrome often have red, itchy, irritated eyes. Some also experience blurry vision. The dryness can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the cause. Genetics, environmental factors, certain medical conditions and medications, as well as aging can all play a role.
In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can result in corneal ulcers and even permanent vision loss.
Why are older people more susceptible to DES? There are a few reasons. Older people tend to deal with more medical conditions and take more medications than younger people, which is one reason DES is more prevalent over age 50.
Women are more prone to dry eyes due to hormonal fluctuations, most notably during and after menopause. For older men, the natural decline in androgen levels can trigger DES.
Autoimmune diseases, which often develop later in life, can negatively affect the functioning of the eye’s glands, also resulting in DES.
Here Is Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?
The first step toward alleviating dry eye symptoms is a dry eye exam performed by an optometrist with experience in diagnosing and treating. The optometrist will assess the quality and quantity of your tears and ask when and where your symptoms intensify.
Once the dry eye optometrist determines the underlying cause of your dry eyes, they may prescribe artificial tears or prescription eye drops to relieve your symptoms. If the dryness persists, they may recommend in-office treatments.
Home Remedies for DES
In addition to following your eye doctor’s instructions, you might want to try these home remedies:
- Invest in a humidifier to add moisture to your home or office
- Cut down on digital screen time
- Takes supplements - Omega 3 and flaxseed combat dryness
- Drink less alcohol and more water
- Wear large or wrap-around sunglasses when outdoors
- Apply warm compresses regularly
Have Dry Eye? Visit Your Lee's Summit Eye Doctor Today!
Dry eye symptoms caused by aging don’t go away on its own. To schedule a dry eye exam, contact Lee's Summit.
Our practice serves patients from Lee's Summit, Lenexa, Greater Kansas City Area, and Johnson County, Missouri and surrounding communities.