Did you know that many common eye problems, including dry eye disease, occur more frequently in women than in men? In fact, women over the age of 40 are the most at-risk for developing vision problems or even blindness across the globe.
While dry eye disease, also called dry eye syndrome, is not directly related to blindness or vision loss, it can cause other eye problems such as blurred vision, and eye pain and soreness if left untreated. Here’s what you need to know about what dry eye disease is and how you can take better care of your eyes for improved eye health and comfort.
What Is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease is one of the most common eye conditions that women over 40 experience, although it can affect just about anyone . It happens when your eyes are unable to produce enough tears or oils to achieve proper hydration and lubrication, or when tears evaporate too quickly, leaving the eyes dry, red and itchy.
Some people who have undergone LASIK eye surgery report having dry eye syndrome and a “sandy” or “gritty” feeling in their eyes . Other causes of dry eye include the natural aging process, digital eye strain, certain medical conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and chronic eye inflammation.
How Many Women Are Affected by Dry Eye Syndrome?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated 3.2 million women in the United States have dry eye syndrome, compared to just under 1.7 million men . The same prevalence among women is also common with other eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts .
Although no one knows for sure why this is, one possibility is that the hormonal changes that take place during menopause can affect the ability of the eyes to produce adequate tears and oils .
Eye Care Tips
Taking great care of your eyes is one of the best ways to alleviate and prevent signs of dry eye syndrome and other related eye conditions, including blepharitis, the medical term for chronic eye inflammation. However, many Americans do not wash their eyelids and surrounding eye area regularly, which can make them more susceptible to dry eye disease, eye infection and other eye issues.
The first step in practicing good eye hygiene is to make sure you’re washing your eyelids at least once daily. If you’re new to eyelid cleansing, you might want to try a kit like the Cliradex Starter Kit, which includes both cleansing foam and eyelid cleansing towelettes.
In addition to following a regular eye cleansing routine, it may help to take supplements to boost the oil secretions in your eyes for improved lubrication. Fish oil, flaxseed oil and borage seed oil are all rich in omega fatty acids, which may help to alleviate signs of dry eye.
For millions of women and men in the United States, dry eye disease can be a bothersome and uncomfortable eye problem. While it is true that this condition most commonly affects women, anyone of virtually any age and gender can experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome. If you’re struggling to manage your symptoms, consider adding a gentle eye cleanser to your normal routine.
 Washington Post