Dry Eye Disease on the Rise Among U.S. Men

Almost 4% of men in the United States develop dry eye disease (DED) after age 50, while almost 7.7% of men over 80 develop the disease, making it one of the most common eye conditions in the country.  By the year 2030, DED is expected to affect more than 2.79 million US men.

Typical symptoms of dry eye include dryness, grittiness, irritation, difficulty reading for long periods of time, burning and even the seeming contradiction of excessive tearing or watering.

In the study, published in June issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers analyzed data on 25,444 men over the age of 50 who participated in the Physicians’ Health Study I and II.  DED was defined as the presence of clinically diagnosed dry eye or severe symptoms (both dryness and constant or frequent irritation).   About 3% reported a previous diagnosis of dry eye, while 6.8% said they had constantly or frequently experienced at least one symptom such as dryness or irritation. Roughly 2.2% reported both symptoms constantly or frequently.

Although research has shown DED is more common among women, about 1.68 million men over age 50 in the United States now have the disease.

Researchers also noted that DED risk increases with age, hypertension, benign prostatic hyperplasia (a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate), and antidepressant use.

Learn about vitamins and other nutritional products recommended for dry eye, and review a list of drugs that can cause dry eye symptoms at the Natural Eye Care website

SOURCE:  “Prevalence of Dry Eye Disease Among US Men,” Schaumberg, et al, Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(6):763-768.