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Home » Dry Eye » What’s the Link Between Dry Eye and Menopause?

What’s the Link Between Dry Eye and Menopause?

Dry Eye and Menopause 640Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) affects 2 out of every 3 women who pre-menopause or post menopause.  If you had LASIK, its even higher than that.

During menopause, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and androgen.  That causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms such as sweating, insomnia, and hot flashes.

Among these physical symptoms is dry eyes, characterized by dry, itchy and burning eyes.

If you're experiencing dry eyes, contact Family Eye Care today for effective and lasting dry eye treatment.

Biological Changes That Affect Your Eyes 

During menopause, the androgen hormone decreases, affecting the meibomian and lacrimal glands in the eyelids. The meibomian glands are in the lids and they produce the tears that keep the eye moist.  The lids margins, the edges of the lids, is where this comes out.  They produce the essential oils for the tears, so less oil causes more tear evaporation and drier eyes.  We suggest that you not put eye liner on the lid margin because that pugs up these glands.  Rather, put the eyeliner on the outside of your lashes.

When the Meibomian glands (these oil-producing glands) are affected, the eyelids can become inflamed, reducing tear quality and production, resulting in dry eye syndrome.  Sometimes it feels like there is grit or sand in the eye.

Some researchers believe that dry eye is connected to changes in estrogen levels. This explains why many women experience dry eye symptoms during certain times of a woman’s monthly cycle, or while taking birth control pills.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome

  • Red eyes
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • The feeling something is caught in your eye. Excessive tearing

How Is Hormone-Related Dry Eye Treated?

Reduced hormone levels during and after menopause can cause meibomian gland dysfunction.

We treat this to preserve these glands and help them work better. There are nutritional treatments and mechanical treatments to reduce dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye treatments can include:

  • Tear substitutes, sometimes referred to as Artificial Tears
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Corticosteroid eye drops
  • Medications that reduce eyelid inflammation
  • Punctal plugs - to reduce tear flow away from the eyes
  • Blephex

The lid margins never really get cleaned.  Think about it; when you wash your face you close your eyes, so that part of the body never gets cleaned.  You brush your teeth and you probably go to a dentist periodically to have them professionally cleared.  Blephey is a 15 minute treatment to your upper and lower lids to get them cleaned.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: Are there home remedies to treat dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Yes. Here are a few things you can do at home to reduce dry eye symptoms.We tend to blink less when we are on computers and when we use digital devices.  Although this is becoming more and more difficult, try to limit your screen time.  Blinking less because we spend so much time on computer, harms the tear film. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink.
  • Protect your eyes by using polarized lenses that wrap around your face  That can block dry air and wind.
    Avoid triggers. Irritants like pollen and smoke can make your symptoms more severe.
    Try a humidifier. Keeping the air around you moist may help.
    Eat right. A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can encourage healthy tear production.
    Warm Compress. A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids.

Q:Can dry eye syndrome damage your eyes?

  • A: Yes. Without sufficient tears, your eyes are not protected from the outside world, leading to an increased risk of eye infections. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to abrasions or inflammation on the cornea, the front surface of the eye. This can cause pain, a corneal ulcer, and long-lasting vision problems.Menopause causes many changes throughout your body. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms due to hormonal changes, contact Family Eye Care to find out what dry eye treatments are available to give your eyes relief.

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Limit your screen time. People who work at a computer all day blink less, which harms the tear film. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink.
Protect your eyes. Sunglasses that wrap around your face can block dry air and wind.
Avoid triggers. Irritants like pollen and smoke can make your symptoms more severe.
Try a humidifier. Keeping the air around you moist may help.
Eat right. A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can encourage healthy tear production.
Warm Compress. A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids."
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Menopause causes many changes throughout your body. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms due to hormonal changes, contact Family Eye Care to find out what dry eye treatments are available to give your eyes relief."
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Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.


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