DRY EYE AND THE MENOPAUSE
As if the night sweats, mood swings and insomnia weren’t bad enough, there’s another symptom of menopause that could take its toll on your body: dry eyes.
Approximately 61% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by Dry Eye Disease; in fact women over 50 are nearly twice as likely to experience the condition compared to men of the same age. ¹ A survey conducted by Eye Health UK found that 86% of menopausal women were unaware of the connection between “the change” and Dry Eye. ²
So, what causes it, how can you spot the symptoms and what can you do about it?
How biological changes affect your eyes
Researchers believe hormonal changes that take place during the menopause may be the reason for developing Dry Eye Disease.
The tear film has three components that are all affected by sex steroid hormones - androgen, oestrogen and progesterone. As the androgen hormone decreases, this affects the meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands are responsible for providing essential oils, so when they don’t function properly it can cause tears to evaporate more quickly and eyes to feel drier.
There is some evidence that falling oestrogen levels are linked to Dry Eye symptoms too.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease during menopause
According to The British Menopause Society, over 25% of women experiencing the menopause suffer with severe symptoms. If you have Dry Eye as a result of hormonal changes you may notice some of these symptoms in your eyes:
- Blurred vision
- Gritty sensation
- Feeling like something is stuck in your eye
- Excessive tearing
How to treat Dry Eye symptoms
Hormone treatments, such as HRT, may help to reduce the effects of Dry Eye by helping to balance out hormones but there is inconclusive evidence.3 In addition to this, there are certain things you can do to help alleviate your symptoms.
- Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which can be found in oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, and flaxseed for those that are vegan.
- Avoiding excessively hot and dry conditions, such as air-conditioned rooms.
- Taking regular screen breaks, especially if your job involves using a computer.
- Keeping hydrated by drinking at least 2 litres of water every day.
- Avoiding triggers such as pollen and smoke that make your eyes more sensitive.
Give your eyes some TLC (Théa Loving Care) by regularly using Dry Eye drops and warm eyelid compresses.
Théa’s product range includes the Blepha Eyebag®, a reusable warming eye mask that helps to soften the oily secretions in the eyelids to provide eye comfort. Blephaclean® eyelid wipes to cleanse and remove debris from the eyelids. Thealoz® Duo to help protect and hydrate the eyes.
Start giving your eye some TLC (Théa Loving Care). You can use our online symptom checker to help you identify the symptoms you may be experiencing. We always recommend you talk to an eye care professional who will be able to diagnose your symptoms and offer advice to support you.
Peck et al. Journal of Mid-life Health. 8(2): 51–54. 2017.
Liu C et al. Medicine (Baltimore). 97(40):e12572. 2018.
Jones L et al. Ocul Surf. 15(3):575-628. 2017