Menopause is the stage in a person’s life when menstruation stops. It can cause hormonal changes that can increase the risk of developing various conditions, including dry eye.
Every individual experiences menopause differently. Some people experience symptoms that significantly affect their quality of life, while others may not experience many or any problems.
- health status, for example, if a person has obesity
- medical history
- socioeconomic status
- geographical location
- metabolic changes
- weight loss or gain
- cardiovascular changes
- musculoskeletal changes
- central nervous system disorders
- increase in urogenital skin tenderness
- sexual dysfunction
This article explores the relationship between dry eye and menopause.
Dry eye is a multifactorial condition, meaning a combination of factors can cause it.
It can affect anyone; however,
Sex hormones influence the main mechanisms that keep the ocular surface of the eye stable; as such, hormones have involvement with:
- producing tears
- evaporating tears
- draining tears
- maintaining corneal epithelial cells
- maintaining the nerves behind the cornea
- maintaining the immune system of the eye
Other factors which may increase a person’s chances of developing dry eye
Dry eye causes changes in the structure of tears and lesions on the surface of the cornea, which can result in the following symptoms:
- visual discomfort
- visual disturbance, such as blurry vision
- tired eyes
- dry eyes
- light sensitivity
Dry eye symptoms can have adverse effects on a person’s overall quality of life, but treatments are available. Options include:
- over-the-counter (OTC) medication
- prescription medication
- alternative treatment
A doctor will
If the eye drops do not work, a doctor may
Although easily accessible, OTC medication can cause adverse side effects if not used correctly. Always check the label and follow the instructions for use. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
If OTC options do not work, a doctor may
Alternatively, a doctor may offer corticosteroid, or steroid, eye drops. These also work by altering the normal immune function, preventing the response that causes inflammation.
Oral antibiotics are a way of reducing swelling around the eyelids, as they have anti-inflammatory functions. The swelling can interfere with the process of producing tears, restricting essential oils from mixing in.
In cases where dry eye becomes severe, eye surgery may be necessary.
Within the scientific community, there is some discussion about using hormone therapy to treat menopause-related dry eye. However, there is little research to show that the treatment is effective in reducing dry eye symptoms.
Alternative treatments and home remedies
Alternative ways of treating dry eyes during menopause include the following:
- using a warm and moist compress
- taking herbal supplements, such as St. John’s wort
- increasing vitamin D intake
- participating in yoga and practicing mindful breathing techniques
- wearing sunglasses when leaving the house
- reducing airflow, for example, avoiding sitting in front of a fan
- reducing screen time
Methods of managing menopause will depend on the symptoms, as the process affects people in different ways.
Guidelines suggest that it is possible to control menopausal symptoms through diet. For example, women between 51–70 years should aim to consume six servings of grain products per day.
Managing menopause will help to control hormone levels. This may reduce the severity of symptoms such as those affecting the eyes.
An eye doctor will be able to
Further complications can arise with dry eye,
- eye infection
- scratches on the cornea
- difficulty seeing
- ulcers on the eyelid
- scarring on the eye
These complications may lead to vision loss. If a person thinks they are developing any complications, they should seek medical help from a doctor.
- staying hydrated
- getting plenty of sleep
- using regular eye drops
- consuming omega-3 fatty acids
- minimizing exposure to irritants, such as dust
- maintaining a humid environment at home
- reducing time on electronic devices
Menopause is when the menstrual cycle ends. During menopause, the balance of sex hormones in the body change, which can cause various symptoms to develop. The type and severity of symptoms differ between individuals.
Dry eye is a condition that can result from hormonal changes caused by menopause. It can be extremely uncomfortable, causing symptoms that include burning and itching sensations, and it may cause visual impairment.
There are various treatment options for dry eye, ranging from lubricating eye drops to eye surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. If a person develops symptoms, they should see an eye doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.