Women’s Eye Health: The Relationship Between Menopause & Dry Eyes
Menopause typically occurs in women in midlife, during their late 40s and early 50s, signaling the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life. One of the more common complaints we see in practice during this time is that of dry eyes. In fact, more than 60% of women are affected by dry eyes once they enter menopause.
Dry eyes is a chronic progressive disease where the eyes cannot produce the right quantity or quality of tears. A woman’s hormones play an important role in her tear production and lubrication levels. Throughout the course of menopause, there is an increase in the level of estrogen which leads to reduced tear production.
Symptoms include a combination of: Stinging, burning, scratchy/gritty sensation, itching, eye redness, sensitivity to light, tearing, tired eyes, blurred vision, swollen red eyelids, soreness, and/ or achiness. Symptoms are often worse at the end of the day or after visually focusing for a prolonged period of time on a task such as a computer screen. If left untreated, dry eye is a progressive disease and can lead to more serious problems, including impaired vision and an increased risk of eye infection.
Alberta Health and Wellness now covers medically necessary eye visits to your Optometrist for all age groups. If you are experiencing symptoms, we recommend booking an appointment so one of our doctors can evaluate your eyes and determine the best course of treatment based on the severity of dryness. Treatment can include a combination of: lifestyle changes, over-the-counter treatments, prescription treatments and surgery.
It is very important that everyone undergoes an annual eye examinations regardless of age or gender. Prevention is the key to a lifetime of great vision. If you would like to schedule an appointment to find out what more you can do to combat your vision problems, contact Dr. Farrah today.
Dr. Farrah Sunderji, OD