“The eyes are one of the most powerful tools a woman can have. With one look, she can relay the most intimate message. After the connection is made, words cease to exist.”[1]Jennifer Salaiz

Eyes have often been said to be the window to the soul. They are a powerful tool used for communication. They can show empathy and concern for others or they can manage emotion and show disinterest.[2] Burt Bacharach had it right when he wrote, “The look of love/ Is in your eyes/ The look your heart can’t disguise/The look of love/ Is saying so much more/ Than just words could ever say.”

Why are eyes so important for communication? Have you ever thought about which portion of the face is the focus when you are listening to a speaker? Unless you are hearing challenged and are reading lips, you are probably focusing on the eyes. Because those who listen to you are focused on your eyes, don’t you want your eyes to reflect the real you – the one deep inside that feels young?

We would all love to be eternally young, but no one escapes the ravages of ageing. What happens to the face physically as we age? We lose fat, bone, and collagen. Our blood vessels can become congested, and our skin darkens.[3] These all, of course, affect the eyes.

As a person ages, several signs around the eyes become noticeable. 1) Fine lines, eventually changing to wrinkles, appear on the forehead, and 2) the brow descends, creating an overhang above the eye. Over time the overhang from the brow creates loose skin that hangs over the upper lids, potentially affecting vision. Additionally, repetitive expressions, like laughing, frowning, or squinting, cause 3) parallel vertical lines, also known as the 11s, to form between the eyebrows.[4][5]

Repetitive expressions also cause 4) crow’s feet at the outer edges of the eye. Smoking and/or excessive sun exposure can make these changes advance more rapidly. 5) Changes in the muscles around the eye cause the angle of the eye to slant downward. 6) Weak lower eyelids can cause excess show of the sclera or lower whites of the eyes. 7) As the skin below the eye changes due to fat displacement downward, fat pushes through weakened muscle, causing the area below the eye to appear baggy or show dark circles. These symptoms can be hereditary and/or can be worsened by allergies and exhaustion.[6][7]

As hair all over the ageing body undergoes changes, eyelashes can become shorter, thinner, and sparser.[8] Another problem associated with ageing eyes is that eyelashes can turn inward and rub against the surface of the eye.[9] This condition can be increasingly annoying because of the irritation and pain it causes and by the inability to see well enough to extract the offending eyelash or eyelashes.

One major factor to consider is eye dryness, which can be related to age, or not. Dryness is often caused by medications. For instance, acne sufferers sometimes take a medicine called isotretinoin, a pharmaceutical that works to cause certain glands to make less oil. The problem is creation of less oil in tears.[10]

Antidepressants, medication for Parkinson’s, and sleeping pills can also dry the eye. The drug action with this group is that they block some signals between nerve cells, which then blocks signals to the eyes to produce tears. And, of course, antihistamines for allergies dry the eyes, along with the common allergy symptoms of itchy, watery eyes. Other pharmaceuticals that cause dry eyes are blood pressure medications, diuretics, birth control pills and other hormones.[11]

All the above describe outward changes around the eyes, but the internal eye undergoes changes as well.

One factor most people notice as they age is that vision changes. Our eyes do not function as they did when we were younger because the lenses have lost their flexibility. Ageing eyes might have difficulty reading at the normal distance. Reading print up close may become an impossible feat, especially in low light. For instance, we may be on that romantic date, and when the menu is presented, out must come the reading glasses.[12]

Ageing eyes might also be dry eyes, due to reduced tear production. They typically have smaller pupils because the muscles that control the pupils get weaker with age. Ageing eyes may also experience floaters, caused by degenerative changes in the vitreous humor,[13] the clear jelly-like substance “that fills the eyeball between the retina and the lens.”[14]

The thing to remember as you age is that you want to be your best self, the youngest self you can be. Your eyes are truly the windows to your soul, the essence of who you are.

Can you achieve a more youthful eye? Discuss your particular situation with your doctor.


[1] “Eyes Sayings and Quotes.” Wise Old Sayings. http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/eyes-quotes/. 2018. (5 July 2018).

[2] Jodi Schultz. “Eye Contact: An Introduction to its Role in Communication.” 28 November 2012. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/eye_contact_an_introduction_to_its_role_in_communication. 6 July 2018.

[3] “Dark Circles, Bags, and Other Signs of Ageing Eyes.” Audubon Dermatology Blog. 20 November 2013. http://audubondermatology.com/dark-circles-bags-and-other-signs-of-aging-eyes/. (9 July 2018.

[4] Jasin Facial. “8 Signs of Aging around Eyes.” 6 December 2011. https://www.elitetampa.com/8-signs-of-aging-around-eyes/. 9 July 2018.

[5] “The 6 Signs of Aging in the Eyelids and When an Eyelid Lift Is Appropriate.” 30 January 2013. https://www.8west.ca/eyes-brows/the-6-signs-of-aging-in-the-eyelids-and-when-an-eyelid-lift-is-appropriate/. 9 July 2018

[6] “The 6 Signs”

[7] “Dark Circes, Bags”

[8] “Dark Circles, Bags”

[9] Mohammed Mohammed and Ali Yagan. “The Ageing Eye.” January 2018. https://www.gmjournal.co.uk/the-ageing-eye. (9 July 2018)

[10] “Is Your Medication Causing Dry Eye?” WebMD. 2018. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/medication-cause-dry-eye#1. (21 August 2018).

[11] “Is Your Medication.”

[12] Mohammed and Yagan.

[13] Mohammed and Yagan.

[14] “Vitreous Humor.” 2018. https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/vitreous+humor. (9 July 2018).