Effects of Aging in Dry Eye

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Tear dysfunction is one of the most common problems encountered by eye doctors. Tear dysfunction has a reported prevalence ranging from 2% to 14.2%.1–3 It has been found to increase with age from the fourth to eighth decade of life and is more prevalent in women than men throughout this period.4,5 Tear dysfunction results from disease of one or more components of the lacrimal functional unit that consists of the tear producing glands and their neural connections. Many patients over the age of 40 with tear dysfunction have evidence of meibomian gland disease (MGD) as an underlying cause, particularly in patients with an unstable tear film, but normal tear production and tear volume. This review will focus on epidemiological aspects of aging, possible mechanisms for age-related dry eye and discuss some potential therapies along with lessons learned from animal models of aging.
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