The Disturbing Prevalence of Dry Eye

It has been shown that dry eye syndrome is a prevalent disease among the elderly and women. In a study conducted by the National University of Singapore, they concluded that 90% of all people suffering from dry eye syndrome were sufferers of 50 years of age or older, and women of virtually any age. In these conditions, dry eye is more common than most people previously thought.

Amid all the more serious diseases, no one really stops to consider dry eye syndrome until the disease hits them. If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause severe effects, in a worst-case scenario, dry eye can actually lead to the loss of vision.


The Study

The study was undertaken to determine how commonly dry eye appeared in connection with associated risk factors in extended populations in Sumatra, Indonesia. The method was a one stage sampling that targeted 100 different households in five different villages and one rural town in the Riau province of Indonesia. Researchers collected data containing information about  demographic, lifestyle, and medical records of 1058 different people over the age of 20 in the region. The results were astonishing.

The Results

The results published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology are as follows:

Prevalence of one or more of the six dry eye symptoms often or all the time adjusted for age was 27.5%, and other studies have found even higher numbers. Independent risk factors for dry eye were pterygium and a history of current cigarette smoking.

Researchers concluded that the presence of a pterygium is an independent factor in the risk of dry eye associated with age, gender, and history of smoking cigarettes. A pterygium is a growth that covers the white part of the eye and is often in a wedge shape, a benign or noncancerous growth that extends onto the cornea. The wedge-shaped pterygium then grows in size and distorts vision and puts pressure on the tear duct, preventing much-needed eye fluid from lubricating the eye, causing dry eye. Dry eye is more prevalent according to age (50 and older), gender (women), and lifestyle choices such as smoking cigarettes and other harmful practices.


Even though age and gender play a part in contracting dry eye syndrome, prevention comes with choices we make when we are younger. Eating vitamin-rich foods such as fish and beef liver can reduce the risk of contracting dry eye. Taking multivitamins daily and quitting all forms of smoking also greatly reduce the risk of dry eye late in life. Since women are twice as likely to get dry eye than men, women have twice as much incentive to eat right and stop harmful practices sooner than later.  

One Love,

Dr. Jenna

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