"The Healthy Geezer" answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column.
Question: My eyes are dry a lot. Is this something common when you get older?
Answer: If your eyes seem to have become drier than normal to you, you should visit an eye doctor for a check-up. It's always better to have a professional examine you when you experience a troublesome bodily change.
Dry eyes are common in people older than 50 because our production of tears diminishes as we age. A lack of tears is more common among women, especially after menopause.
The tear film in your eyes has three basic layers: oil, water and mucus. Problems with any of these can cause dry eyes.
The outer layer of the tear film, which is produced by small glands on the edge of your eyelids, contains fatty oils. These smooth the tear surface and slow evaporation of the middle watery layer. If your oil glands don't produce enough oil, the watery layer evaporates too quickly, causing dry eyes.