According to Schepens Eye Research Institute 2 out of 3 people who are blind or visually impaired are women. Which makes sense since women tend to live longer than men giving way to all types of eye problems. Such as: ADM (age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, presbyopia, and dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye syndrome is shown in studies to have affected 60% of women. What’s even more is that those studies are now showing that dry eyes are linked directly to menopause.
When women start menopause their hormone levels begin to change. Studies show that before menopause when there is more testosterone it results in fewer tears, whereas the increase in estrogen produces more tears. In menopause as those hormone levels change, these reverse. The greater amount of testosterone the greater amount of tears and the more estrogen the fewer tears there are. Thus creating dry eye syndrome.
Many women however may be experiencing the symptoms and be comeplety unaware of it. Dry eye syndrome can present itself in a combination form of:
- Scratchy or gritty feeling in the eyes (like sand in eyes)
- Itchy eyes
- Tears flowing down cheeks
- Sensitive to light
- Problems wearing contact lenses
If dry eyes are left untreated this can cause the cornea to become scarred or develop ulcers. The syndrome may also cause a person’s vision to be affected and are more likely to contract eye infections due to the lack of tears that are needed wash out the eye.
There is hope. Even if studies are inconclusive as to why the effected hormone level of menopause causes such drastic changes, you can protect yourself against the eye ailment.
A few things to keep in mind while maintaining excellent eye health:
- A healthy diet with the proper intake of Omega 3’s
- Keeping your hormones balanced, simple endocrine treatments can help balance hormone levels
- Medication may need reviewing with your doctor, some meds can contribute to dry eyes
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid touching eyes, too much rubbing can cause a loss of moisture and can promote bacteria growth in the eye
- Drink lots of fluids
-Contact lenses should always be worn with proper care, they also can cause bacterial growth and protein build up, not to mention they absorb eye fluids.
-Sleep. Being well rested will relieve stress levels that cause hormonal imbalance, while giving those eyes the rest they need as well.
-Punctal plugs are another alternative to reduce the loss of tears.
Taking note of the symptoms and taking the proper steps to look after your eyes might be the difference between a mild irritation and a long-term problem. Talk to your doctor, maintain healthy lifestyle habits and go for regular eye exams, so that you can see things in a whole new light.