Menopause strikes a woman between her forties and her fifties. His body goes through many changes. Pain during sex, brain fog, or hot flashes are some of the symptoms of menopause that most women may experience. But there is also a link between menopause and dry eyes. This can cause irritation and a lot of discomfort. Let us tell you about the causes of dry eye during menopause and what you can do to treat them.
What are dry eyes?
Dry eye, also known as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough quality tears to keep the surface of the eye sufficiently lubricated. This can lead to discomfort, irritation and potential damage to the surface of the eye, says Dr Sanjiv Gupta, director and senior eye surgeon at i Care Center in New Delhi.
Causes of dry eyes during menopause
Like any symptom of menopause, dry eye also has its causes. Some of them are:
1. Hormonal changes
There is a drop in estrogen levels during menopause, which can affect tear production, leading to dry eyes.
As we age, it’s not just the lines or wrinkles that we start to notice. As people age, tear production tends to decrease, making them more prone to dry eye symptoms.
Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can reduce tear production as a side effect, exacerbating dry eye symptoms during menopause, says the expert.
4. Systemic health conditions
Health conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of dry eye, and postmenopausal women may be more susceptible to it.
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5. Environmental factors
Exposure to smoke, wind, and dry or polluted air can worsen dry eye symptoms in women going through menopause.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes During Menopause
You will experience dryness in the eyes as well as other symptoms such as:
• Burning or stinging sensation in the eyes.
• Feeling like something has entered the eye.
• Excessive tearing (a reflex response to dryness)
• Blurred vision.
• Redness of the eyes.
• Sensitivity to light.
• Eye fatigue or discomfort, especially during prolonged use of screens.
Dry Eye Treatment
You can try some treatment options for dry eye during menopause. Some of them are:
• Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops
• Anti-inflammatory eye drops or medications to increase tear production
• Applying a warm compress to the eyes can help stimulate the tear glands.
• Manage environmental factors and stay hydrated
• Tear plugs, which are very small devices that can be inserted into the tear ducts to slow the drainage of tears and retain moisture.
Tips to Prevent Dry Eye During Menopause
Drinking enough water is a great way to prevent dehydration and stay hydrated by helping your eyes stand out from other parts of the body. Here are other ways to prevent dry eyes:
1. Maintain a balanced diet
Make sure you eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins that promote eye health, suggests Dr. Gupta.
2. Use humidifiers
Use humidifiers in dry indoor environments so they can add moisture to the air. This means that you should use humidifiers in your office as well as at home.
3. Take breaks
When using screens or reading, take regular breaks to blink and rest your eyes. Constantly looking at your computer will further lead to dry eyes.
It is essential to see an ophthalmologist if your eyes still hurt.