By: Cynthia Matossian, MD, FACS
Dry eye syndrome is a common medical problem that affects millions of people worldwide. This condition can be caused by a wide variety of health issues, and that includes menopause. According to one study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, nearly 18 percent of women over the age of 50 suffer from dry eyes. Here is a closer look at the connection between these two conditions and some steps that post-menopausal women can take to relieve their dry eyes.
Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome describes a group of symptoms caused by a lack of tears. When your eyes are healthy, your tears ducts constantly produce a little bit of liquid to keep everything lubricated. If your tear ducts stop producing tears, then you may begin to notice many different problems including itchiness, redness, a constant stinging sensation, and blurred vision.
Untreated dry eye syndrome can also make you extremely sensitive to bright lights and certain colors. You should immediately contact our office to schedule a dry eye test if you are struggling with any of these symptoms.
The Connection Between Dry Eyes and Menopause
Further research needs to be done on the subject, but we now know that a relatively large percentage of menopausal and post-menopausal women suffer from dry eye syndrome. Some experts believe that sudden changes to estrogen production might play a role in this condition.
There could also be a connection between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and dry eye syndrome. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that post-menopausal women being treated with HRT are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome than those who haven’t undergone any hormone treatments.
Another team of researchers is taking a closer look at the connection between fatty acids and dry eye syndrome. A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that the consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids might protect against a condition known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). This medical condition is relatively common in post-menopausal women, and it produces symptoms that are almost identical to dry eye syndrome. Consuming plenty of foods that contain fatty acids or taking a fatty acids supplement could alleviate some of those symptoms.
Dry eye syndrome is an aggravating and uncomfortable condition that makes everyday tasks extremely difficult. Our team can help you come up with a comprehensive treatment plan for your dry eyes. We are proud to offer our patients world-class treatments and services, and that includes a painless dry eye test that takes just moments to complete. Please call us today at (800) 708-8800 to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly and experienced eye care specialists.