Women are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome than men with total cases in the 9MM set to reach 162 million by 2028

Nearly 60% of all diagnosed prevalent cases of dry eye syndrome (DES) occur in women. Women who are pregnant, on certain types of birth control, and on hormone replacement therapy show increased rates of DES, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Hormone imbalances during pregnancy, lactation, low estrogen levels after menopause, and further decrease of hormone levels in old age are the factors that cause dry eyes in women.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Dry Eye Syndrome – Epidemiology Forecast Report to 2028’, reveals that the diagnosed prevalent cases of DES in the nine major markets (9MM*) in both sexes are projected to increase from 144 million cases in 2018 to 162 million cases in 2028, equating to an annual growth rate (AGR) of 1.21%. In 2018 there were more than 60 million cases of DES in China, representing two-fifths of all cases in the 9MM with Spain having the lowest number of diagnosed prevalent cases at 1.6 million.

Shilpa Shaji, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData, comments: “Postmenopausal women are more prone to develop DES as there will be a decline in the hormone levels leading to loss of anti-inflammatory protection and decreased lacrimal secretion. However, one-third of all diagnosed prevalent cases of DES in the 9MM in both sexes combined occur in the ages 18-39 years is quite alarming. Although the risk of dry eye increases with age, female gender, use of antihistamines, connective tissue diseases, and overexposure to visual display terminal (VDT) has turned out as a major risk factor for DES especially among young adults.”

Dry eyes can lead to many complications if not treated properly. In severe cases of untreated DES, the associated inflammation can damage the surface of cornea and can cause keratitis. Keratitis can lead to ulceration and also result in visual disruption.

Shilpa concludes: “The definition of dry eye and its measure of the severity vary across the epidemiological studies, which make it difficult for a comparison. There is also lack of a standardized testing protocol to diagnose the condition.”

*9MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Japan, China and, India

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