A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology concluded that 10%-30% of the US population over 40 years old is diagnosed with a form of dry eye disease, with 3.2 million women and 1.68 million men over 50 also having DED. This disease is often associated with growing older, particularly in postmenopausal women. A multifactorial disease affecting the tears and ocular surface, DED results in a disturbance in vision, discomfort, and tear film instability. Patients are also at risk of obstruction of the ocular surface.
While it can be either chronic or temporary, DED can result from Bell’s palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, corneal and eyelid issues, diabetes, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren syndrome, and eye disease caused by thyroid issues. Common pharmacologic causes of DED include antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and diuretics. The environment can also attribute to DED – dry climates, not blinking regularly after staring at electronic screens for an extended period of time, smoke, and wind. Even laser eye surgery can cause the development of DED.
While DED can be uncomfortable, there are ways it can be prevented.
Talk to your pharmacist about which medicines can increase your risk of DED and how you can take preventative action. They can also inform you of treatment options for mild to moderate DED, as well as options for chronic and severe forms.