Many older Americans have dry eyes that can range from mild to severe. If you are 50 or older and female, your chance of developing a more severe form of dry eye syndrome is even higher.
Women who have undergone menopause may experience disrupted chemical signals that help maintain a stable tear film. Resulting inflammation also can lead to decreased tear production and dry eye.
If you already have been diagnosed with dry eyes, make sure you are being treated appropriately for other conditions associated with both aging and dry eye, such as rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid autoimmune disease.
Also, keep in mind many medications required by adults over age 40 may cause or worsen dry eye problems. Examples include diuretics (often prescribed for heart conditions) and antidepressants.
If you suspect a medication may be the underlying cause of your dry eye, be sure to discuss this with your doctor. It's possible that changing to a different medical treatment may be equally effective without causing dry eye problems. Also, concurrent treatment of your dry eye may be necessary. It's possible that allergies or other problems that cause eye inflammation may be the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms.
Studies show that about 7.8% of women and about 4.7% of men
in this older age group develop significantly dry eyes.
Your eye doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription eye drops to relieve both your eye allergies and inflammatory dry eye problems.