Q: I have a problem with dry eyes, although sometimes they do the opposite and I get excessive tearing. What causes that and what can I do for them? I am 80 years old.
A: Dry eyes are common in people more than 50 years old and menopausal women, but can occur in younger individuals due to certain medical conditions. The eyes often feel itchy and sore, or they may feel gritty.
Eyes are dry when there is a lack of natural tears. Tears lubricate the eye and keep the surface moist so that eye movement is enabled, and they also help protect the delicate surface from infection.
Meibomian glands, small glands on the edges of your eyelids, produce the oil in tears. This is added to salty water produced by the lacrimal glands at the corner of the eyes.
Working outside in windy, dry conditions may lead to dry eyes or excessive watering of the eyes. Looking at a computer monitor for long periods of time may also have the same effect due to less blinking when your eyes are concentrating on something.
Lack of natural tears and dry eyes are also associated with some medical conditions such as auto-immune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome. Diabetes, hypothyroidism and vitamin A deficiency may also be to blame.
Antihistamines, some anti-depressants and some types of blood pressure medications can cause dry eyes. Try over the counter artificial tear drops, but avoid the types that are used to reduce redness in the eyes.
There are also some prescription eye drops or special contact lenses. You should visit your doctor in case you do have a treatable eyelid condition such as blepharitis.
There is also a new treatment known as LipiFlo where thermal pulsation helps clear blocked oil glands. This should be performed by an eye specialist.
Q: What do you recommend to treat cellulite?
A: The dimpled fat layer under the skin, mostly occurring in women around the thighs and buttocks, is commonly called cellulite.
This is not a medical condition. It is simply lumpy fat, which shows through the thinner skin found in women. The only way to eliminate it is to lose weight, with diet and exercise.
Do not waste your money on cosmetic commercial creams or wraps.
Liposuction can be used to surgically remove unwanted fat, but I do not recommend it because there are risks and complications.
Clare Rowson is a retired medical doctor in Belleville, Ont. Contact: [email protected]