How ageing can affect your eyes

What happens to our eyes as we age?

As we grow older, we notice little changes in how we function, things we used to be able to do we no longer can and conditions that never affected our younger selves now do. One thing we commonly experience is the growing discomfort of our eyes. Many of us naturally have concerns over our eyes, but sometimes worry about going to the doctor, as we fear we’re wasting their time.

Our eyes can feel dry for a number of reasons, a common one being the decline in tear production. With age, our eyes naturally slow down the tear production process. And as tears are a major protective agent, a lack of them can reduce the benefits we would normally get, like washing the dust away from our eyes, soothing them and defending them against eye infections.

Other factors that can affect our eyes

- Going through menopause? Women who are on hormone replacement therapy may experience dry eye symptoms. Women taking only oestrogen are 70 per cent more likely to experience dry eye, whereas those taking oestrogen and progesterone have a 30 per cent increased risks of developing dry eye.

- Do you regularly consume omega 3? Try adding some fish to your diet as there has been some evidence to suggest that consuming oily fish such as mackerel, salmon or sardines can help to improve dry eyes. By being aware of lifestyle choices as you get older, you can help support your eyes’ health.

- Suffer from immune system disorders? Medical conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis can lead to dryness of the eyes.

- Spending a lot of time in front of a screen? Older eyes can feel drier and screens can contribute to dry eyes. Whether it’s watching your favourite soap or keeping up with current affairs, spending a long period of time staring at a screen means you blink up to 60% less, causing eyes to feel dry and irritated. 

- On medication? Dry eyes can be a side effect to some medications, including antihistamines, nasal decongestants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications and antidepressants. 

How to take care of older eyes

- Wearing glasses or sunglasses that fit close to the face (wraparound shades) or that have side shields can help slow tear evaporation from the eye’s surfaces.

- Using an air cleaner indoors to filter dust and other particles can help prevent dry eyes. A humidifier may also help by adding moisture to the air.

- Avoid dry conditions and allow your eyes to rest when performing activities that require you to use your eyes for long periods of time. Use lubricating eye drops while performing these tasks.

- Cleanse your eyelids with a warm, moist washcloth for a couple of minutes, then gently scrub your lids and lashes.

- Make a conscious effort to blink more frequently, especially when using devices with screens. Post-it reminders can help with this.

How can Optrex help?

Optrex has a range of products that can help relieve dry eyes, drops for dry eyes include Optrex Intensive Eye Drops, Night Restore Eye Drops or ActiMist 2in1 Dry and Irritated Eye Spray. They are all available over-the-counter, providing a treatment range to help relieve your dry eyes.