Purpose: This review article examines the prevalence, etiology, and current therapies of dry eye disease, with special focus on postmenopausal women.
Method: A systematic literature search utilizing MEDLINE was conducted to identify peer-reviewed articles related to dry eye published prior to September 2008. The terms "dry eye" and "women" were searched in combination with one or more of the following words or phrases: prevalence, postmenopausal, etiology, risk factors, therapy, medications, surgery, tear film, and quality of life. Articles were selected based on their direct applicability to the subject matter. A manual search was also conducted based on citations in the published literature.
Results: Epidemiologic studies identified prevalence rates ranging from 7% in the United States to 33% in Taiwan and Japan. Risk factors include advanced age, female sex, smoking, extreme heat or cold weather conditions, low relative humidity, use of video display terminals, refractive surgery, contact lens wear, and certain medications.
Conclusion: The last decade has brought about a better understanding of the etiology of dry eye disease. New therapies that can alleviate the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease and, consequently, improve the quality of life of dry eye patients are available in the market.
Keywords: dry eye disease; etiology; postmenopausal women; prevalence.