Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Aging Dry Eyes- Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Dry eyes are one of the most common problems among seniors as they age. With age, our eyes and body are undergoing a variety of changes.  Decreased cardiac function results in decreased micro-circulation which leads to poor supply of blood and nutrients to the eye.  If dry eye is left untreated, the cornea can develop ulcers as well as other severe eye problems.

Causes of Aging Dry Eyes

As we age, our body produces fewer tears.  Dry eyes are a very common complaint among older adults. Here are a few of the different causes that influence our dry eyes:
  • Watery Eyes- Ironically, dry eyes can cause watery eyes because the body senses the amount of fewer tears which triggers the brain to produce reflex tears (excessive watery tearing). This excessive tearing however does not lubricate your eyes it only makes the problem worse.
  • Menopause- Hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood swings, fatigue, headaches are all associated with menopause. However, more than 60% of women experiencing these symptoms also experience dry eyes.  Women at this stage are also vulnerable in developing autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome; Rheumatoid Arthritis (see section under TheraLife Eye Enhanced – Autoimmune Dry Eyes.)
  • Tear Production- As we age, our eyes naturally slow down the tear production process. Tears are a major protective agent for the eyes. Tears not only wash away dust from our eyes, but also soothe our eyes, provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea, as well as help defend against eye infections by removing microorganisms that can form communities in our eyes.
  • Medications- Medications can cause dry eye. This includes some medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and pain relievers.   Natural therapy sometimes tends to be a more balanced approach to aging diseases.
  • Caffeine in foods- Coffee, tea, sodas and chocolates are some of our everyday indulgences that contain caffeine.  Caffeine causes blood vessels to constrict which results in decreased circulation, cause insomnia, and a variety of health issues.  Try avoiding these foods and drinks if possible as caffeine is known to dehydrate the body.
  • Computer use- Internet allows us to connect with the outside world.  Sitting in front of the computer for extended periods of time can significantly dry your eyes out.  Remember to blink more often.

Prevention Measures as You Age

We strongly recommend the following things you can do to help prevent and relieve the severe symptoms of Dry Eye, regardless of your age. Here are a few examples:
  • Drink Water- At least 8 glasses a day.  Water is a great source to keep your body hydrated, especially if you live in dry, hot or cold climates.
  • Humidifiers- Either in your central heating system or individual rooms inside your home can bring moisture into the air, especially if you live in a dry location, or during winter when there is less moisture in the air.
  • Natural Supplements- Omega-3’s (especially fish oil) and Omega 6’s is a great way to help you thicken your tears and decrease your dry eye symptoms.   For women, adding Primrose Oil to Fish Oil can also help with hormone balance.

How does TheraLife Eye work?
TheraLife Eye works by restoring normal cell functions to tear secretion glands and increase tear production to provide eye moisture.
To learn more:  click here
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