If you’ve been feeling as though your eyes are dry and irritated more often lately, it’s not your imagination: As you age, the essential protective lipid layer of your eyes can begin to break down and your tears may have trouble maintaining moisture. The result? An uncomfortable stinging or burning sensation in your eyes.
Dry eye symptoms affect hundreds of millions of people around the world. In fact, they are one of the most frequent causes of patient visits to eye care practitioners.1 Good news, science has made it possible to help recreate the moisture that your eyes naturally lose with age with eye drops that help restore the lipid layer to seal in moisture and protect against further irritation. Let’s take a closer look.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
There are a few different reasons why your eyes might feel dry. Dry eyes are usually a result of a compromised outer protective lipid layer. This layer normally locks in moisture, but it can deteriorate with age.
There are two ways your eyes can become dry: evaporative and/or your lacrimal glands don’t produce enough tears.
In evaporative dry eye, the film does not sufficiently coat the eye and the tears dry up too quickly. It’s frequently brought on by something called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) in which tiny glands in your eyelids stop making as much oil, or meibum, as they used to, causing changes in your tear film. This is the most common form of dry eyes.
In aqueous deficient dry eye, people experience a low tear volume, possibly due to obstructions in the lacrimal (or tear-producing) glands and ducts in your eyes. The risk of this type of dry eyes increases with age.
A dry or polluted environment may play a role in your dry eyes, as can extensive computer use, chronic health conditions, or past surgeries such as LASIK. Menopause and other age-related changes in your body can contribute, too.
Dry Eye Symptoms Can Be Successfully Managed
If you have dry eyes, you know that symptoms like blurred vision, burning and irritation may mean you say no to some of your favorite activities. There are options to help manage your dry eyes.
Scientists have made strides in developing tools to help relieve dry eye symptoms. One approach is to use lipid-containing eye drops. These drops, such as Soothe® XP lubricant eye drops, help restore the lipid layer of the tear film to seal in moisture and protect against tear loss. In one study, Soothe XP showed a notable improvement over non-lipid-containing eye drops in increasing the lipid layer thickness in people with dry eyes due to meibomian gland dysfunction.2
It’s always a good idea to talk to your eye doctor about your dry eyes. Along with eye drops, your eye doctor may discuss simple lifestyle changes, such as avoiding smoky rooms, wearing glasses on windy days, and spending less time looking directly at your computer screen. Other strategies to help manage dry eye symptoms are eyelid cleansers and scrubs, and application of warm compresses. For severe cases, talk with your doctor.
While there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent age-related dry eyes, today’s options mean it doesn’t have to affect your quality of life. Choose Soothe XP Eye Drops to help restore your lipid layer to seal in moisture and protect your eyes against further irritation so you can find the relief your eyes need.
Soothe is a trademark of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates.
1 TFOS DEWS II Report Executive Summary. (2017) “The Ocular Surface.” http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ j.jtos.2017.08.003
2 Clinical Ophthalmology. (2016) “Tear Lipid Layer Thickness with Eye Drops in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.” https://www.dovepress.com/tear-lipid-layer-thickness-with-eye-drops-in-meibomian-gland-dysfuncti-peer-reviewed-article-OPTH