Dry Eyes As We Age
Some say that with age comes wisdom, confidence, and kindness. A slightly less pleasant aspect of reaching the golden years is the heightened risk of developing ocular conditions such as dry eye syndrome (DES).
While aging is inevitable, fortunately, dry eye syndrome is not. We can help manage symptoms with the latest dry eye treatments to ensure that your eyes stay feeling fresh and clear of any irritation.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a common, yet treatable, eye condition where the eyes aren’t sufficiently lubricated. This leads to a host of uncomfortable symptoms, listed below. The severity of DES symptoms can range from mildly bothersome to incapacitating.
What Are Dry Eye Symptoms?
Some symptoms of DES include:
- Eye redness
- A stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes
- A gritty feeling, similar to having something in your eyes
If you experience any of the above symptoms, schedule an eye exam with Vision Source Specialists to determine the root cause of your dry eye and receive the relief you need.
What Causes Dry Eye?
DES can be caused by many factors, including pollution and dry air, allergies, poor tear quality, or insufficient tears. Healthy tears are made up of a combination of 3 layers: water, mucus, and oil. Any imbalance in this precise cocktail can result in DES.
How Does Aging Engender Dry Eye?
The process of tear production slows as we age. If the lacrimal glands produce fewer tears, the quantity of your tears decreases. In addition to diminished quantity, problems with tear quality can result in a reduced production of oil and mucus.
Furthermore, certain medications can also pose a higher risk of DES for patients, especially those over the age of 50, when medications are more commonly prescribed. Frequently prescribed medications like antihistamines and blood pressure tablets can cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
Several medical conditions and chronic diseases, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, are more prevalent in people over the age of 50, and are known to cause DES in many patients.
How Are Dry Eyes Treated?
If you suspect you may have DES, know that the symptoms can be minimized or completely eliminated. Many people assume that over-the-counter remedies, such as lubricating eye drops, are the end of the line for DES treatment when this isn’t the case. At Vision Source Specialists, we know that DES can cause severe discomfort, and we’re here to help.
If your dry eye symptoms remain after trying over-the-counter lubricants, then Dr. Dawn Wattenhofer can provide a more comprehensive examination and discuss with you some more effective treatments than those available at the local drugstore.
With aging comes wisdom, and with wisdom comes booking your next eye exam at Vision Source Specialists. Don’t let dry eye symptoms reduce your quality of life — let us help you find relief.Our practice serves patients from Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, South Dakota and surrounding communities.