It is estimated that as the average life expectancy rises, cases of dry eyes will increase.
Milind Pande (pictured) is Medical Director and Consultant Eye Surgeon at Vision Surgery & Research Centre in Humberside and a past President of UK & Ireland Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons. He is not surprised by the study as he too is seeing more and more patients, especially those over 50, who are suffering with dry eyes: “The condition of ‘dry eye’ means that the normal tear film lubricating of the eye is not functioning adequately and the surface of the eye is rough and inflamed, leading to a scratchy, dry and uncomfortable feeling as the eyes can no longer wet and lubricate themselves properly. As people age, the production of the oily as well as the watery portion of the tear fluid decreases, resulting in dry eyes. It’s is a commonly misdiagnosed condition, common in people with diabetes, and it is critical to get an expert assessment if anyone has a chronic red sore eye.”
Dry eyes affects as many as one in three of us and is a year-round problem. In winter central heating and in summer air conditioning use and warmer temperatures can exacerbate this condition. Pande suggests that sufferers of mild dry eye will find it helpful to keep the eyes hydrated and moist. “Drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet with lots of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, cleaning the eyelids and using moistening eye drops regularly are helpful in alleviating dry eye symptoms. If dry eye is becoming a persistent and problem, it is wise to see your doctor and ask for an expert assessment by an ophthalmologist.”
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