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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2014, Article ID 781683, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/781683
Review Article

Aging: A Predisposition to Dry Eyes

1Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
2Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 6 June 2014; Revised 23 July 2014; Accepted 31 July 2014; Published 14 August 2014

Academic Editor: Mainak Sengupta

Copyright © 2014 Anushree Sharma and Holly B. Hindman. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Dry eye syndrome is a disease of the ocular surface and tear film that is prevalent in older adults. Even though the degree of visual acuity loss in dry eye patients is commonly mild-to-moderate, in the aging population, this minimal change in visual status can lead to a significant decrease in visual function and quality of life. A healthy ocular surface is maintained by appropriate tear production and tear drainage, and deficiencies in this delicate balance can lead to dryness. In the aging eye, risk factors such as polypharmacy, androgen deficiency, decreased blink rates, and oxidative stress can predispose the patient to developing dry eye that is frequently more severe, has higher economic costs, and leads to worse consequences to the well-being of the patient. Understanding why elderly patients are at higher risk for developing dry eyes can provide insights into the diagnosis and management of the growing number of older adults struggling with dry eye and minimize the burden of disease on our aging population.