Dry skin, dry tender parts, and now dry eyes. Sure enough, just about everything dries up as we move further into the autumn of our lives. My eye doctor has me using over the counter lubricating drops and I gotta say, my eyes feel a whole lot better.
We were talking at our most recent goddess gathering about which of our senses we would most hate to lose (a little morbid, I know, but we talk about EVERYTHING at our meetings). We were evenly divided between sight and hearing, although the consensus was that we love our senses more than ever at this time of life and hope to lose none of them. For now, we are going to appreciate them. And take care of our precious sense organs so that they provide us joy and connection for the second half of our lives.
With that in mind, please enjoy this guest post by Brett Oliveira that illuminates dry eye syndrome.
Dry Eyes as You Age
Dry eyes, the result of impaired tear production from the lacrimal glands (tear ducts), are a common problem among those who have allergies and naturally lack the standard amount of eye moisture many take for granted. This problem is most commonly found in groups of people over the age of 50 who have endured a lifetime’s worth of sun exposure, air contaminants and macular degeneration.
As the body ages, it produces less tears, making the eyes vulnerable to infection. These tears are a solution of oils, proteins and electrolytes that are essentially the antibodies of your eyes. A noticeable symptom of dry eyes, ironically enough, is the excessive production of these tears at one time. Much like how the body senses starvation and packs on the pounds as a result, the body acknowledges when there isn’t enough moisture lubricating the eyes and produces mass quantities of tears in an attempt to remedy the problem.
This condition, alternatively known as keratoconjunctivitis, is generally both a direct and indirect product of aging. Because of hormonal changes, a female who has just phased out of menopause is much more likely to experience dry eye syndrome. Sufferers of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorders also are 50% more likely to feel the effects of dry eyes due to decreased corneal sensation. All of these medical conditions tend to be associated with old age, meaning the odds of experiencing dry eyes between the ages of 50-65 are that much higher.
In addition to other medical conditions causing dry eyes, certain medications have a reputation for causing the disorder. Common drugs such as ibuprofen and high blood pressure medications are known to induce dry eyes.
All the same, those who have not entered the age bracket of 50-65 should not feel that they’re in the clear. A total of 11% of those between the ages of 30-60 are said to suffer from dry eyes, with impacts being felt more harshly with incoming generations who have experienced new reasons to be concerned about potential tear reduction. People entering the 30-60 age bracket have lived through the digital age, where staring at a computer monitor and other eye-drying light-based monitors that are known to be harmful when used for an extended period of time.
As layers of tear glands diminish with age, it is recommended that an eye doctor be consulted to recommend eye drops or, in some cases, procedures to block tear ducts that serve as a deposit for disposal of excess tears.
About the Author
Brett Oliveira works with BuyMoreContacts.com, where you can buy contact lenses at discount prices. BuyMoreContacts.com offers a variety of contacts, including lenses such as Proclear toric and Acuvue Oasys.
This has been a big problem for me for a number of years now. I have used lubricating drops for ages before I go to bed and often throught the day as well. It was only recently when we moved and I found a new eye doctor that I was given the best piece of advice yet:
place a warm washcloth over your eyes for about 15 minutes before you go to sleep. This is in addition to using gel drops such as Tear-gel.
I find this helps enormously and I am often reluctant to remove the washcloth at all because it feels so good!
Periodically, I still wake up with that rock-salt feeling behind my eyelid and that hurts like blazes, but I have learned to be careful not to open my eyelids too quickly when I wake up and that mitigates the scratching a little bit.
The doctor also recommends upping your vitamin B-complex, but the pills are so huge that I can’t manage them. If you can, she says after a while that really makes a difference.
Still waiting for my 10 years to be up, but between the ice-packs, the primrose oil and the eye-gels, I’m coping!
All the best, Ladies!