Dry eye is just one of the common conditions that about five million elders ages 50 and above in America experiences. If you’ve been continually experiencing itchiness, redness, excess watering, or burning in your eyes, it is probably because your eyes are dry.
While relatively common, dry eye can lead to a severe eye problem if not treated early and properly. If you are an elderly or taking care of an elderly family member, you must understand what causes this dry eye. In doing so, you will learn how to prevent or treat such conditions.
Consulting a primary doctor is still the best measure when dealing with any common diseases or ailments. To give you a general idea, here are some reasons most elders often experience dryness on their eyes:
1. It is part of aging
It is common for elders to develop lower heart rates and heart inflammation as they age. Both of these conditions can affect the heart’s ability to produce blood. Since your body organs function with blood, a decrease in blood flow can significantly affect how they work. Like any other body organs, your eyes can get affected as well, which is why you may experience dryness in your eyes.
Another possible reason is that there is a slow production of water, oil, and mucous in elderly people. These bodily components make up your tears, and a decrease in tear production can cause dryness in your eyes as well.
2. Changes in hormones
Both men and women experience changes in hormones, meaning both will most likely experience dry eyes. Eyelid gland is one area that can get affected when there’s a change in hormones. These glands produce meibum, which keeps your eyes moist. If there is a decrease in meibum, your eyes will most likely get dry.
Both elderly men and women can experience dry eyes. However, it is more prevalent in women, especially when they started going through the menopausal stage at the age of 50. On the other hand, men who experience dry eyes are most likely those who take anti-androgen medications, according to Dr. Massaro-Giordano of Penn Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Center.
3. It is one of the side effects of medications
Since elders are prone to many age-related ailments, they take various types of medications. Any medicines, in whichever form, have side effects, including dry eyes. Drugs, such as antidepressants, sleeping pills, pain relievers, and muscle relaxants, reduce blood flow and block nerve impulses, to name a few. All of these can directly contribute to the dryness of the eyes.
Dry eye is common in elderly people, but not just because it is common, meaning you should not pay attention to it. Having dry eyes can affect not only one’s health but their lifestyle as well. Using a humidifier in your home or treating it with eye drops are good preventive measures. However, consulting a primary doctor is still the best action that you should make.
If you are an elderly or taking care of an elderly person looking for a primary care doctor in North Bergen, NJ, schedule an appointment with us today, and we will be glad to accommodate you.