Could Age Be Related to Your Dry Eyes?

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Dry eyes are an uncomfortable condition that affects 3.2 million women and 1.6 million men over 50, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. While some people only experience dry eyes occasionally or in a dry space (such as an airplane), for others, the condition is chronic and can worsen with age.

For those who live in Chicago, IL or the greater surrounding area, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Daniel Tepper at Wickerpark Eye Center can help patients concerned about aging and dry eyes.

Below, we’ll look at the age-related causes of dry eyes.

What are the symptoms of aging dry eyes?

Dry eyes can appear red and easily feel tired or even painful. They may sting, burn, or itch, produce excess mucus, and be sensitive to light. Dry eyes can lead to blurry vision and long-term difficulties.

Aging can make these symptoms more problematic because they could indicate long-term issues that require the intervention of an experienced ophthalmologist, like Dr. Tepper. That's why prevention is critical.

How is aging related to dry eyes?

As we get older, overuse, increased sensitivity, hormone changes, prescription medications, and illnesses can lead to dry eyes. Studies have found that the prevalence of dry eyes increases in women and men every five years after age 50 and is more common in women than men.

It’s essential to get an annual eye exam with dilation and treat the symptoms of dry eyes early because they may lead to more severe consequences later on.

Aging-related dry eye conditions include:

  • Tear film dysfunction

  • Decreased tear production (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)

  • Increased tear evaporation

  • Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye

  • Evaporative dry eye

Older adults also have a higher chance of getting dry eyes due to blood pressure medications, hormone replacement therapy, and Parkinson’s disease.

Dry eye treatments for aging adults

Treatment for aging dry eyes can include preliminary interventions, such as lifestyle changes, many of which need to be long-term.

These lifestyle changes can include:

  • Avoiding smoky, windy, or artificially air-conditioned environments

  • Using a humidifier in your home

  • Limiting screen time or taking frequent breaks from looking at computers and phones

  • Wearing protective sunglasses when outside

  • Drinking more water

  • Quitting smoking

  • Warm compresses

  • Getting adequate sleep

Medical dry eye treatments can include:

  • Eye drops that produce artificial tears and lubricate the eyes

  • Prescription ointments

  • Tear duct plugs

  • Surgery

Dr. Tepper also offers the following interventions at Wickerpark Eye Center in Chicago, IL:

  • Blephadex™ eyelid wipes

  • LipiFlow thermal pulsation system to clear blockages

  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment to unclog glands in the eyelids and help with vascularization and eyelid inflammation

  • BlephEx treatment to remove bacterial biofilm in the eyelids

Contact us today for treatment for dry eyes in Chicago, IL

If you’re concerned that chronic dry eyes are related to aging and want to ensure that you’re taking care of your eyes properly, schedule a consultation with Dr. Daniel Tepper at Wickerpark Eye Center.

Individuals near Chicago, IL or the greater surrounding area can contact us and get started by scheduling an eye exam.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.